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Government/Politics

Nurses’ Association Asks Hospitals To Protect Profession Better

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BBC
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A Texas nurses’ organization is calling on hospitals to make sure their nurses have been properly trained to respond to Ebola,, and have updated the equipment used to prevent the spread of the disease. This “call for action" is following the news that a second Dallas nurse had tested positive for Ebola.

According to medical records released to the Associated Press, nurses treating Liberia-born Thomas Erik Duncan at the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, did not wear protective hazmat suits for two days after it was suspected that Duncan had been infected with Ebola, while being held in an isolation unit at the hospital.

The executive director of the Texas Nurses Association, Cindy Zolnierek, is asking nurses across the state to speak out if their hospital has not trained staff properly and provided them with the appropriate equipment.

Zolnierek said, “Hospitals are obligated to provide resources and support to nurses, so that they can safely provide care to patients. And that includes access to personal protective equipment, and up-to-date training,” she says.

Zolnierek also urges the public not to be quick to point fingers, or blame nurses for the domestic transmission of the disease, which the CDC says was caused by a “breach in protocol.”

Since Ebola found its way to Texas, one of the things that North Richland Hills Republican, Rep. Stephanie Klick, has been considering, is legislation that would ensure Texas nurses have quick access to quality personal protective gear. Klick is a practicing nurse of 30 years’ standing.

Klick said, “Many of the masks being used to care for these patients, actually 90 percent of them, are produced overseas. I think we need to look at all strategic supplies to ensure that in the event of a worldwide pandemic, we’re not going to have shortages.”

She says Texas needs to have a domestic supplier for equipment used to prevent the spread of infectious diseases such as Ebola.

Klick would also like the legislature to focus on whether the state’s processes do enough to protect first responders and healthcare workers from infectious diseases.