The Massachusetts Nurses Association is voicing concern about identifying and treating patients with Ebola symptoms, after a patient in Braintree was quarantined and taken to a Boston hospital over the weekend. Nurses say they need better training and protective equipment.
Nurse Julie Pinkham is not impressed with the flimsy, blue, plastic gown handed to nurses at a local community hospital when they’re treating patients with serious viruses. She’s executive director of the Massachusetts Nurses Association, and she says the weekend scare has brought out a range of emotions.
“I think it’s ranged from appalling, disappointed and anxious. I think everybody’s been anxiously awaiting this first case, if you will, or first scare of a patient. We should be very well prepared to handle this at this point.”
But very few nurses report any training on the Ebola and very few clinics have Hazmat suits for transport, Pinkham says. Each hospital system has its own plan on how to handle Ebola. Pinkham has sent letters and is lining up meetings with Massachusetts hospitals calling for immediate upgrades to emergency preparations for Ebola, including hands-on training and drills for all staff, and proper protective equipment like Hazmat suits and respirators.
Acute care nurse Peg O’Connor inspected the plastic gown.
“This is a very flimsy type of plastic. And as you can see it almost looks like it has rips in it already. These are openings for something, I’m not quite sure. This wouldn’t even cover somebody’s entire body.”
O’Connor is worried that clinics and hospitals are not prepared, as the director of the Division of Health and Safety for the Massachusetts Nurses Association.
The group is meeting with hospitals across the state this week.