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Nurses Union Says Hospitals Aren’t Telling Workers How To Handle Ebola Patients

By Brandon Formby, The Dallas Morning News

The country’s largest union and professional association of registered nurses said Sunday that American hospitals are still not communicating policies to health-care workers regarding how to handle potential Ebola patients. National Nurses United also said that 85 percent of 1,900 nurses surveyed said their hospitals have not provided education about the virus in a setting that allows nurses to interact with or ask administrators questions.

“As has been shown in Dallas, they are not prepared,” NNU co-president Deborah Burger said at a news conference in Oakland, Calif.

Burger said that companies who remove Ebola-contaminated materials are better prepared than hospital personnel.

“There is a huge vacuum in both credibility and implementation,” she said of U.S. hospitals.

The organization called for hospitals to immediately develop and communicate their emergency preparedness plans for Ebola or other outbreaks. That includes full training, adequate supplies of protective suits and gear, properly equipped isolation rooms and procedures for waste and linen disposal.

“We’re still not clear on why our hospitals are dragging their feet,” Burger said. “We think there may be a bit of denial involved in this.”

AFP Photo/Mike Stone