CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Two Lowcountry hospitals say they are prepared to handle a patient with possible Ebola infection.
MUSC Medical Center and Roper St. Francis Healthcare say they are following guidelines specified by the Centers for Disease Control.
MUSC will follow preparation and protocols spelled out by the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization when it comes to assessing patients who present with fever, sweats and/or chills and have traveled to West Africa within the last three weeks, according to spokesperson Heather Woolwine.
Roper St. Francis has been meeting daily for the past two weeks to ready its team for the possibility of an Ebola case, and doctors and nurses developed a protocol that meets CDC recommendations, Roper St. Francis Chief Medical Officer Dr. Steven Shapiro said.
"While it is unlikely, should such a patient come to MUSC Medical Center, a specific predetermined sequence of actions and precautions would occur, consistent with the CDC-issued recommendations," Woolwine said in a statement. That would include immediately placing the patient in isolation, possibly in an intensive care room, she said.
Both facilities say their caregivers would use appropriate personal protective equipment, including clothing, gloves, and eye gear.
"The identification of such a case would also trigger a series of immediate notifications to key hospital leadership, faculty and staff, which would include infectious diseases and infection prevention, as well as prompt notification of the SC DHEC for specialized testing and investigation of contacts," Woolwine said.
"Staff members at our five full-service emergency departments and more than 80 care locations across seven Lowcountry counties have been educated on how to identify patients we encounter with Ebola-like symptoms and how to isolate them," Shapiro said. "We also will communicate with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Medical University Hospital, which has volunteered to accept patients with the Ebola virus from other facilities."
Physicians and nurses who would likely provide bedside care for patients with Ebola-like symptoms are being trained on protecting themselves and are receiving specific and up-to-date information as the information changes, both facilities say.
For more information from MUSC regarding Ebola, visit http://globalhealth.musc.edu/blog/experts-musc-talk-ebola-preparedness.