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Chief Emory nurse explains why Ebola patients were brought to U.S.

Emory Head Nurse

AP Photo/WSB-TV Atlanta

Information and misinformation about the Ebola virus have spread rapidly in recent weeks, particularly after two victims infected with the virus arrived in the U.S. from Africa and were taken to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. Now, the chief nurse at Emory Healthcare has written a letter explaining why the patients were brought to the U.S.

Susan M. Grant, RN, published “I’m the head nurse at Emory. This is why we wanted to bring the Ebola patients to the U.S.” in the Washington Post on Wednesday. The article includes the subtitle, “These patients will benefit—not threaten—the country.”

In the first portion of the article, Grant addresses the fact that some in the U.S. “responded viscerally on social media” with fears that bringing the patients would spread the disease to this country.

“Those fears are unfounded and reflect a lack of knowledge about Ebola and our ability to safely manage and contain it,” she wrote. “Emory University Hospital has a unit created specifically for these types of highly infectious patients, and our staff is thoroughly trained in infection control procedures and protocols.”

But she also went on to say that the core reason for bringing the patients to the U.S. is because of the overall “foundational mission” of healthcare in the U.S.

“The purpose of any hospital is to care for the ill and advance knowledge about human health,” she wrote.

She explains that Emory and the staff working with the patients are fully equipped and prepared to work in a situation such as this. She emphasized that everyone involved in the treatment of the patients volunteered for the job, adding that “at least two nurses canceled vacations to be a part of this team.”

Read the whole article here, then tell us: What do you think? Do you agree with Grant that “we can fear, or we can care”?

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4 Responses to Chief Emory nurse explains why Ebola patients were brought to U.S.

  1. saturn567

    amazing feat, I would risk it in order to learn about the disease and also to help others

  2. angelam1104

    I think the idea of “care and not fear” is a noble one. I don’t have enough knowledge on the research that has been done here in the USA on this disease to know if we can “safely manage and treat”. I do know that we have never had a case of Ebola in this country and so I don’t know how safely we could have managed something we haven’t treated in a patient before. As a future RN (class of 2016 whoot whoot) I aspire to become like the “head nurse” and be on the front lines like this and to help spread the correct information. I don’t blame people for those reactions because the information is not out there. This article has a “shame on you” tone which I didn’t like. As a healthcare professional we should dispel fear with truth not guilt.

  3. skillednurse2010

    I’ve been a nurse for many years now. And have seen many communicable diseases. I’ve worked as an infectious nurse and have followed data regarding these diseases. It seems as though no matter how much training these nurses and aides have, the numbers continue to climb and spread from patient to patient. In the case of Ebola, it is spread through direct contact with bodily fluids. I do not agree with the choice made to have the Americans brought back into the US. It is honorable that they chose to risk themselves for the sake of others, which is what many of us nurses do everyday. But it is unfortunate that they contracted the virus and risk the US. NO matter how “highly trained” these Americans are there is ALWAYS a risk of transmission to others.It’s not fool proof. It’s not guaranteed to not spread. We can only pray that those taking care of the ill will remain in protocol. Kudos to those brave people!!

    • njtex99

      You hit the nail on the head. I feel for the patients and their families and understand why they want them here. If I was infected though I would stay where they have the experience necessary to treat the disease. Also I would not want to risk spreading a disease to a new population.

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