Saturday, October 25, 2014

Waaaaaaaaahmbulance Alert!

I am a nurse who has just returned to the U.S. after working with Doctors Without Borders in Sierra Leone - an Ebola-affected country. I have been quarantined in New Jersey. This is not a situation I would wish on anyone, and I am scared for those who will follow me.
I am scared about how health care workers will be treated at airports when they declare that they have been fighting Ebola in West Africa. I am scared that, like me, they will arrive and see a frenzy of disorganization, fear and, most frightening, quarantine.
I arrived at the Newark Liberty International Airport around 1 p.m. on Friday, after a grueling two-day journey from Sierra Leone. I walked up to the immigration official at the airport and was greeted with a big smile and a “hello.”
I told him that I have traveled from Sierra Leone and he replied, a little less enthusiastically: “No problem. They are probably going to ask you a few questions.”
He put on gloves and a mask and called someone. Then he escorted me to the quarantine office a few yards away. I was told to sit down. Everyone that came out of the offices was hurrying from room to room in white protective coveralls, gloves, masks, and a disposable face shield.
One after another, people asked me questions. Some introduced themselves, some didn’t. One man who must have been an immigration officer because he was wearing a weapon belt that I could see protruding from his white coveralls barked questions at me as if I was a criminal.
Two other officials asked about my work in Sierra Leone. One of them was from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They scribbled notes in the margins of their form, a form that appeared to be inadequate for the many details they are collecting.
I was tired, hungry and confused, but I tried to remain calm. My temperature was taken using a forehead scanner and it read a temperature of 98. I was feeling physically healthy but emotionally exhausted.
Three hours passed. No one seemed to be in charge. No one would tell me what was going on or what would happen to me.
I called my family to let them know that I was OK. I was hungry and thirsty and asked for something to eat and drink. I was given a granola bar and some water. I wondered what I had done wrong.
Four hours after I landed at the airport, an official approached me with a forehead scanner. My cheeks were flushed, I was upset at being held with no explanation. The scanner recorded my temperature as 101.
The female officer looked smug. “You have a fever now,” she said.
I explained that an oral thermometer would be more accurate and that the forehead scanner was recording an elevated temperature because I was flushed and upset.
I was left alone in the room for another three hours. At around 7 p.m., I was told that I must go to a local hospital. I asked for the name and address of the facility. I realized that information was only shared with me if I asked.
Eight police cars escorted me to the University Hospital in Newark. Sirens blared, lights flashed. Again, I wondered what I had done wrong.
I had spent a month watching children die, alone. I had witnessed human tragedy unfold before my eyes. I had tried to help when much of the world has looked on and done nothing.
At the hospital, I was escorted to a tent that sat outside of the building. The infectious disease and emergency department doctors took my temperature and other vitals and looked puzzled. “Your temperature is 98.6,” they said. “You don't have a fever but we were told you had a fever.”
After my temperature was recorded as 98.6 on the oral thermometer, the doctor decided to see what the forehead scanner records. It read 101. The doctor felts my neck and looked at the temperature again. “There’s no way you have a fever,” he said. “Your face is just flushed.”
My blood was taken and tested for Ebola. It came back negative.
I sat alone in the isolation tent and thought of many colleagues who will return home to America and face the same ordeal. Will they be made to feel like criminals and prisoners?

Awwwwwwww, does Pwecious Special Snowflake need a hanky to cry in?
Let's try this again, after we turn up the "Brigthtness" dial:

I am a nurse who has just returned to the U.S. after working with Doctors Without Borders in Sierra Leone - an Ebola-affected country. I have been exposed to Ebola in the past 48 hours, and out of a rational fear that, just like my colleague, Dr. Spencer, I might also display symptoms of this deadly disease, and expose friends, family, and hundreds of strangers to this deadly disease, I have been quarantined in New Jersey. As a grown up, I think this was an entirely rational response, to prevent exposing or infecting my fellow airline passengers and the cabin crews on multiple flights, plus various officials, clerks, taxi drivers, bus passengers, hotel clerk, waiters and waitresses, cashiers, plus their families, children, and by extension the rest of Newark, and the state of New Jersey. This is not a situation I would wish on anyone, but I realize it's not all about MeMeMe, and my feelings don't trump the safety of countless others. I'm sure my fellow health care professionals will also understand the need for this common sense response, and deal with it as a minor inconvenience compared to what would happen if I had been infected, let alone if I were to spread the disease to innocent strangers through negligence and reckless disregard for normal infection control processes, of the exact sort used for centuries.
I had to wait in complete isolation, and it's scary and lonely, but now I begin to have some tiny bit of empathy for how all the people I treated must have felt when I was on the other side of the hazmat gear. I didn't realize what a sight I must have presented every day to strangers in a faraway land dying from a deadly disease, but now, I have some tiny inkling of what they faced, and it will give me more empathy for my patients for the rest of my nursing career. Until now, I was pretty oblivious about what that feels like.Now though, I understand how important it is to introduce myself when I'm all covered up and anonymous. I also understand how it feels to be scared, hungry, and thirsty, and completely at the mercy of other people - exactly like my patients are. I get why my tone of voice, and some compassion, can make someone in a strange situation feel afraid, vulnerable, and helpless, in a way I never confronted personally before. 
And I see how one person's thoughtless actions can have consequences for hundreds to thousands of others when a deadly disease is the culprit, and the health and safety of thousands to millions of people is at stake, and it makes me feel very humble under such a weighty responsibility. I was thankful for being given food and water, and even for being isolated so that I wouldn't infect or expose any of those other people, all strangers, with whom I would have otherwise been sitting as I continued my journey home. The officials were so concerned about my health and the public's safety they dedicated an ambulance and eight police cars to getting me safely to a definitive medical screening. I'm sure those cops must have had better things to do in Newark than babysit me, but I never heard a peep of complaint from them; the ride was all business, fast, and I was completely safely conveyed to the hospital. It was quickly determined that I was not symptomatic, which was a huge relief.  
Now I only have to spend three additional weeks waiting it out before everyone I meet can be assured I'm no threat to the public's health. Or to my own family and friends, who mean the world to me. I didn't expect this additional hurdle when I left the US to help out overseas, but I'm a professional with extensive training and experience in controlling the disease in question, and it's so horrible I'd rather die myself than spread it to one other person. So the last thing I'm going to do is bitch, piss, and moan about my tiny little problems, instead of dealing with this additional hurdle, and then getting back to the people and work that I love. I am not the most important thing in the universe, and in case I forgot, I just got a huge wake-up call. So if this is the worst thing that happens to me after spending weeks working amongst the dying in third world squalor, I've got nothing to worry about. And I can't wait to get out of here and enjoy a feast with my friends and family. Compared to what I've seen, they really have no idea how blessed they are to be here, instead of over there. But I sure do, now.
You tell me: which one of those statements sounds like a dedicated professional, and which one sounds like a whiny four-year-old?

Get over yourself, Princess!
You have a Planetary Rotation Malfunction: the world does NOT, in fact, revolve around you. Got that?
So either change your attitude, or change your profession. You embarrass me, and you're seriously pissing me off!
It sounds like a three week time out for you is just what the doctor ordered.
Now get away from me until you can act like goddam grown-up. Go!


Have A Nice Bedpan Full Of STFU!

It seems things aren't turning out well for the vaunted "any hospital can play with Ebola" cheerleaders in NYC:

An extraordinary number of Bellevue Hospital staffers called in sick on Friday rather than treat the city’s first Ebola patient — and those who showed up were terrified to enter his isolation chamber, sources told The Post.
“The nurses on the floor are miserable with a ‘why me?’ attitude, scared to death and overworked because all their co-workers called out sick,” one source said.
“One nurse even went as far as to pretend she was having a stroke to get out of working there, but once they cleared her in the ER they sent her back up,” the source added.
Dr. Craig Spencer is being treated by nurses working in teams of two, “with one serving as a buddy watching the other,” said Health and Hospitals Corporation spokeswoman Ana Marengo, who denied there was a sickout.
Bravo to the folks there with the sense to pour piss out of a boot.
Having exhausted all other options, apparently common sense is getting a turn at bat.

This could even catch on, and give TPTB cause to re-think their wholly jackassical approach to this crisis thus far, while there's time to make such a change work.

And once again, free-market capitalism FTW!

h/t to Zebra Dun for the title!

Six Degrees Of Ebola Separation - For the Geographically Challenged

As one hilarious wisecracker posted elsewhere yesterday when I added that Mali had gotten on the Ebola Scoreboard, "Oh God! Not Mali!!! {runs to Wikipedia}

Which is fair, funny in a 7000-miles-from-me way, and a reasonable observation.
Fair enough; not everyone liked maps since they were little kids.

The problem is this:
When Ebola was (more-or-less) contained in one country, it was "just another small potatoes Ebola outbreak" in equatorial Africa. Quick flare, bodies, and poof! it's over.
But instead, it travelled by bus and taxi to the densely populated slums of the capitol, and crossed two (and later three, out of six) of the neighboring borders. And then proceeded to those densely crowded capitol's slums, and we've been off to the races trying to catch it - and abysmally failing - every day since then. That's precisely why it's now A Big Thing.

And now it's gotten to Mali (pop. 16M+). Nearly as many people in one country as there are in the other three combine. Carried there by a two-year-old, and her loving idiot grandmother, on public busses, straight to the capitol of Mali (Bamako, pop. 1.8M), and its teeming slums.

Clever people will notice a pattern.
(And arguably, most of Africa is a teeming slum.)

And with Mali doubling down on teh Stoopid, it bears noting that it shares borders with four additional countries not previously at risk, and the president of that landlocked nation has officially announced that they won't be closing their borders at all.

In more obvious terms, this is like deciding, in the midst of a forest gloriously aflame, to build your house out of gasoline cans, and pointing fireworks at your neighbors' houses as well.
And then storing kegs of gunpowder inside that house.

We aren't losing to Ebola because we don't know how to stop an epidemic.

We're losing because no one is willing to do it.
It's too hard.
Too politically unpopular.
Too inhumane to those trapped in the Hot Zone.
Simply too damned mean.
And the "leaders" around the world, top to bottom, are simply too craven and too stupid to take the most obvious and basic epidemiologic steps to contain the spread.

So instead, we're going to kill the entire world. With kindness.
And wish on a unicorn, and think of butterflies and puppies, while we pray for miracles.

What's desperately and unpalatably called for is some tough love.

But everyone involved is too squeamish to come out and do what necessity demands, and instead, they're all diddling themselves, and will continue to do so, until nothing, not even the most draconian measures, will then avail.

And for the perennial pollyanas, who're sure that the outbreak in Mali won't spread, and the case in NYC won't spread: That's what they said when it was just in Guinea. And when it was just in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. And when it was just in Dallas.
Nota bene, dumbasses, that it's come to the U.S. twice already, skipping over 87 intermediate stops, because international jet travel, and clever government inattention, incompetence, hubris, and childish magical thinking.
It's a free country: wait for it to personally bite you in the ass at your own peril.
I promise to laugh at your plight from afar, come the day.

I say yet again:

Y.O.Y.O. - You're On Your Own.

Make appropriate personal preparations, while you yet have the time and wherewithal.
When things go to shit everywhere, as they continue to do like a Chinese water torture, drip by drop, that option will not exist for you, or for anyone else.

Ebola Czar MIA

No word from the new Ebola Czar. On anything.
Despite fresh Ebola cases in NYC and Mali, and state quarantines popping up like mushrooms on a wet lawn across the US.
The last czar this suddenly invisible was taken for a walk, and never seen again.

Stupid Is As Stupid Does

Mali will not close its border with neighboring Guinea after a two-year-old girl infected with Ebola was brought across the frontier by her grandmother and died in Mali this week, President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita said on Saturday.
The girl travelled hundreds of kilometers through Mali - including a stop in the capital Bamako - on public transport, potentially exposing many people to the virus, before she died in the western town of Kayes on Friday.
Keita said that the incident showed it was impossible to completely seal his country off from Ebola in neighboring Guinea but said he remained calm as the girl's journey and potential contacts had already been traced.
"Guinea is Mali's neighbor. We have a shared border that we did not close and we will not close," he told France's RFI radio station.
Land-locked Mali relies on the ports of neighboring Senegal, Guinea and Ivory Coast as gateways for much of its import needs. There is little accurate data but border closures by West African states trying to protect themselves from the epidemic have had a crippling effect on regional economies.
Keita said that the girl's grandmother had made a mistake by going to a funeral in Guinea, where more than 900 people have died of Ebola, and bringing her back.
"We are paying dearly for this," he said. "But I think this will cause more fear than anything else. The case was quickly contained."

Genius! Pure genius!

The president of the country can't see an epidemic with 10,000 officially acknowledged cases right across his nation's borders as a problem.

When you have a nation of idiots, they elect one. I'd point and throw stones, but we seem to have a similar affliction right here.

Waiting For The Kaboom

BAMAKO (Reuters) - Nurses and other people who have come into contact with the first Ebola patient in Mali were isolated on Friday as concerns mounted that an epidemic that has killed 4,900 people in neighbouring West African states could take hold in the country.
Mali confirmed its first case of Ebola on Thursday and said the two-year-old girl was being treated in the western town of Kayes. She was brought by relatives from neighbouring Guinea, where the epidemic was detected in March, after her mother died of the disease.
On the dusty streets of the capital Bamako, residents voiced alarm after health officials said the girl had spent 10 days in the city's Bagadadji district before travelling on Sunday to Kayes, some 400 km to the northwest near the Senegalese border.
Diplomatic sources also expressed concern about the preparedness of the poor nation to contain an outbreak that has ravaged three neighbouring countries. Mali, home to a large U.N. peacekeeping mission, is still battling northern Islamists after a brief French-led war last year.
One diplomatic source, briefed by authorities, said the girl was showing symptoms of the disease when she arrived in Kayes, three days before she was isolated for suspected Ebola.
Six nurses who treated the girl at a hospital in Kayes had been isolated for treatment, the source said, but noted it was not clear how quickly this was done. The girl first came for treatment on Monday but was not confirmed to have the disease until Thursday.
A further 26 contacts had been isolated at the CNAM national medical centre in Bamako, the source said.
A Malian Health Ministry official, who asked not to be identified, told Reuters that authorities estimated that at least 300 people had been in contact with the infected child.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said it was sending experts to help Mali fight the outbreak. The U.N. health agency says at least 4,877 people are recorded to have died from the epidemic - mostly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone - though the actual death toll is likely to be several times higher.
Hours before Mali confirmed the case, WHO Assistant Director-General Keiji Fukuda said the agency had "reasonable confidence" that there was not widespread transmission of the Ebola virus into neighbouring countries.
Mali, together with cocoa producer Ivory Coast, has put in place border controls to stem the stop Ebola at its frontiers. However, a visit to Mali's border with Guinea by Reuters this month showed vehicles avoiding a health checkpoint set up by Malian authorities by simply driving through the bush.

So Mali, ater letting an infected girl and her now-infected relatives through their "quarantine" (big enough to drive an epidemic through), now has dozens of high-risk exposures, and hundreds of potential contacts. And apparently, also has a national IQ in the room-temperature range. For a patio. In Siberia.

Once again proving, precisely as I explained a couple of week back, that the fate of the world rests entirely upon the shoulders of the stupidest people involved, because with this outbreak, from NY to Mali, the morons are driving the bus.

Right off the cliff.

Dear NYFC: Who Left The Bag Of Idiots Open?

The preparedness of New York City officials and workers to deal with Ebola has once again left much to be desired as a hazmat team sent in to decontaminate the apartment of Craig Spencer, the first person to contract the deadly virus in the city, was seen leaving his apartment with sealed barrels, but wearing no protective gear. The men were photographed exiting the apartment without gloves, face masks, or anything else to protect them as they loaded the barrels with possibly contaminated goods into the back of a truck.
Please, by all means, go to the linked DailyMailUK article for the multiple photographs of this Clowncarnucopia of Fail.

Especially moving are the shots with numerous Big Horseapple bystanders wandering through the procession, faces buried in their smartphones, tweeting to their crosstown pals, in total obliviousness to walking through a hazmat cleanup. (The one small orange cone wasn't really a lot of help there, either.)

I didn't think it was possible to make the folks in Dallas pressurewashing the vomit look brilliant by comparison, but once again NYFC takes the cake:
that city's collection of 60-IQ assclowns puts every other city's 70-IQ assclowns to absolute shame.

Walk tall, you bunch of public school dropouts. You are, beyond any doubt, the stupidest collection of morons ever assembled in one place in all of human history. It's only a wonder you don't all require iPods with a twelve-a-minute loop tape to remind you to breathe 24/7, and if you hadn't mastered the use of your elbows, your knuckles would certainly drag on the ground. Thank God you had the surgery to remove the prehensile tails, or you'd never have gotten your pants on.

Friday, October 24, 2014

With A Rebel Yell - Updated

A health care worker arriving from Africa who was placed in mandatory quarantine as part of a new policy by the governors of New York and New Jersey has developed a fever.

The state health department said the woman had no symptoms upon arrival at Newark Liberty Airport, but on Friday night she developed the fever and is now in isolation and being evaluated at University Hospital in Newark.

University Hospital released a statement saying, "The healthcare worker Governor Chris Christie indicated earlier today would be -quarantined because of a recent history of treating Ebola patients in West Africa had no symptoms upon arrival at Newark Liberty International Airport earlier today. This evening, the health care worker developed a fever and is now in isolation and being evaluated at University Hospital in Newark."
UPDATE: False Alarm.

Open Pool in Comments:
As we wait for the blood test results on this one, how many more Ebola cases before HopeyDopey finally declares an absolute travel quarantine from West Africa, or gets dragged out of the White House and carried off in a tumbrel cart to the guillotine?
Place your bets, the wheel is spinning...

Cuomo And Christie - Separated At Birth? Updated

New York and New Jersey will quarantine on arrival at the area’s airports anyone who had direct contact with Ebola patients, Governors Andrew Cuomo and Chris Christie said.
The stricter rules came shortly after a top U.S. health official said the federal government also was considering tighter measures nationwide that might put anyone returning from Ebola zones into quarantine or under strict monitoring.
“That is something that is right now under very active discussion, and you’ll be hearing shortly about what the guidelines will be,” said Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, at an event in Bethesda, Maryland.
The new policy in New Jersey and New York goes beyond the guidelines of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Under the changes, quarantines for high-risk travelers from any of the three West African nations most affected by the Ebola outbreak would last 21 days. Others who travel from the region and haven’t had direct contact the virus will be actively monitored and quarantined only if necessary, they said.
Let's be even-handed here:

For having the sense God gave a jackass, and ignoring the foot-dragging DC idiots:
5 points each.
But for not thinking this through for, oh, even 3 seconds:
-200 points each.

1) How do you KNOW who's had "direct contact with Ebola patients"?

You simply quarantine all travelers from the affected countries. Problem solved.
Moral of the story: Elect assclowns; suffer the consequences.

Update: Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn says "Me Three!" Reaches for greasepaint, proves to be just as smart, and just as stupid.

"Life is tough. It's tougher when you're stupid!"

Comedy Relief: White House Edition

White House Rodeo Clown Press Secretary Josh Earnest, today:
"The only way to eliminate the Ebola risk to the American public is to stop the outbreak at its source, and that’s what we’re working to do.  In addition to that, we’re obviously taking the necessary precautions here to contain an outbreak in the United States.  We continue to believe that risk of that is exceedingly low because of the way that Ebola is transmitted and of the modern medical infrastructure that we have in this country."

Word to your mother, Joshie:

The Ebola outbreak in Africa continues to spiral out of control, and the sum total of the entire world's efforts, including ours, has been as effective as spitting on the tracks to stop a freight train at full speed. It's doubled again since September 12th, and spread to three new countries since that time. So far.

The entire Ebola outbreak in THIS country has been BECAUSE of the government, not in spite of it, and every American infected with Ebola to date was taking advantage of the most up-to-date standards of medical protection available in the world, and yet they all still contracted the disease.

So if transmission vectors and medical infrastructure is your big defense plan, we're all completely F*****.