Wyoming Medical Center Learns Geography Lesson With Ebola Patient Drill
Got to keep the Guineas straight.
Some staff at the Wyoming Medical Center recently learned that lesson during an Ebola preparedness drill, CEO Vickie Diamond said.
"We had a patient come in and say he was from Guinea, and he already had a fever," Diamond said Tuesday.
The staff went into action with its drill procedures, she said. "They suited up, took him in the back where he could be more isolated. Then he forgot to tell us he was from Papua New Guinea."
Guinea is in west Africa, and is one of the countries at the center of the largest and most complex Ebola outbreak in history. The virus is spread by contact with bodily fluids of someone who is sick or has died from the disease. The disease is often fatal.
Papua New Guinea is northeast of Australia, which is on the other side of the planet from Guinea.
"So we had a great great drill, and we are adding a geography lesson to our staff," Diamond said at the monthly meeting of the board of trustees of the Memorial Hospital of Natrona County. The board oversees the lease of the county's hospital assets -- mostly in the 1200 blocks of East Second and Third streets -- by the nonprofit Wyoming Medical Center Inc. The WMC's rent, in effect, is to provide care for the poor and inmates at the county jail.
Diamond said the Wyoming Medical Center has talked with the state epidemiologist and other health officials about Ebola.
Other hospitals have called the Wyoming Medical Center asking if they could transfer potential Ebola patients here, she said. "We do not want to be an Ebola receiving center."
The only exception to that would be if a patient was not stable, but that would only be for a few days because a patient like that would require three staff per shift because staff can be in a biohazard suit for only so long, Diamond said.
The state also has made arrangements with the Casper-Natrona County International Airport, because its customs office handles about 300 international flights a month, Diamond said.
Many of the planes are operated by oil companies and some of those companies work in oil fields in West Africa. The customs officers are trying to route those them to larger cities with hospitals capable of handling passengers who may have Ebola, she said.