A second employee of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, a woman who helped treat the late Thomas Eric Duncan, has been diagnosed with Ebola. From the Washington Post:
“The health-care worker reported a fever Tuesday and was immediately isolated at the hospital,” a statement from the Texas Department of State Health Services said.
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said at a news conference that the female worker was isolated within 90 minutes of taking an elevated temperature reading. He also warned that additional cases could be on the horizon.
(Jenkins is the chief executive of Dallas County.)
It isn’t known how, specifically, the new patient (or nurse Nina Pham, who was hospitalized this weekend and is in good condition) was infected. The new patient’s apartment is being decontaminated and officials are in the process of determining whether she had contact with anyone outside the hospital while symptomatic.
The second case coincides with increasing criticism of Texas Health Presbyterian Dallas for its reaction to Duncan’s infection. A nurses’ union gave a statement to reporters last night that it said came from employees at the hospital:
The statement alleged that guidelines for handling the Ebola patient were constantly changing, and that for two days after Duncan was admitted to isolation the nurses were given personal protective equipment that left their necks exposed. The organization did not name the nurses or say how many contributed to the statement.
The union also “accused the hospital of sending contaminated lab specimens from Duncan through the same hospital tube system used for all patients, rather than specially sealing or hand delivering them.”