J. D. Heyes
A nurse's union is claiming that healthcare workers who cared for Thomas
Eric Duncan, the Liberian national who became the first Ebola patient
on U.S. soil, were told by hospital administrators to keep quiet about
treatment conditions at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital or they would
As reported by The Associated Press (AP), Deborah
Burger of National Nurses United, a union that does not represent nurses
at Texas Presbyterian, convened a conference call to reporters recently
to discuss what she said were concerns of nurses at the hospital. Among
other things, Burger said the nurses had to use medical tape to secure
gaps in flimsy protective clothing, and that they were concerned about
exposure of their necks and heads as they cared for Duncan, who died
The AP further reported:
executive director of Nurses United, said the statement came from
"several" and "a few" nurses, but she refused repeated inquiries to
state how many. She said the organization had vetted the claims, and
that the nurses cited were in a position to know what had occurred at
the hospital. She did not specify whether they were among the nurses
caring for Duncan.
Also, nurses said that Duncan's lab
samples were sent through the hospital's pneumatic tube network, which
may have resulted in contamination of the specimen delivery system. And
they said hazardous waste -- sheets, protective outerwear, towels, etc.
-- were allowed to pile up to the ceiling in Duncan's room.