With Ebola Scare, California Nurses Push For Strict Safety Standards

After a possible Ebola case surfaced in Sacramento, the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United called for transparency and strict adherence to CDC protocols among hospitals and health agencies.

California nurses are not taking any chances with the Ebola virus.

After a patient suspected of having been exposed to the virus was admitted to a Sacramento hospital last week, the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United issued a call to federal, state, and county health agencies to follow guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in handling the case.

“This potential exposure of patients and healthcare workers demonstrates the critical need for planning, preparedness, and protection at the highest level in hospitals throughout the nation,” Bonnie Castillo, director of the CNA/NNU Registered Nurse Response Network, said in a statement. “Our nurses are expressing concern about their hospital’s state of preparedness, including adequate supplies of personal protection equipment on hand, properly equipped isolation rooms, as well as protocols and training materials in place.”

The patient, who traveled to California from West Africa, was kept in isolation while blood samples were sent to the CDC for testing, according to local TV station Fox 40.

“This brings a lot of concern to the front-line staff because it’s unprecedented,” Mia Pinto-Ochoa, a nurse at Kaiser South Sacramento and a member of CNA/NNU, told the station.  “We have never dealt with the Ebola virus specifically before.”

Speaking on behalf of CNA/NNU, Pinto-Ochoa credited the hospital with a smooth response but cited room for improvement, especially concerning communication between management and hospital staff.

Kaiser Permanente, which owns and operates the South Sacramento hospital where the patient was admitted, released a statement saying it was taking actions recommended by the CDC, and its physicians and infectious disease experts were working closely with local and state public health agencies to monitor developments and share information.

Later in the week, media outlets reported that the California patient had tested negative for the virus, but the case served as a test for handling future infectious disease cases.

“I think it’s a wake-up call for the entire nation, and all hospitals,” Pinto-Ochoa said.  “We’re calling on all hospitals across the nation to be prepared for what may come through their emergency room doors.”


Katie Bascuas

By Katie Bascuas

Katie Bascuas is associate editor of Associations Now. MORE

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