Spanish government party blames Ebola victim nurse

This video is called Doctor: Poor Protective Gear Hurts Ebola Fight.

By Kelly Taylor:

Who is responsible for the Ebola virus case in Spain?

16 October 2014

Last week, Spanish nurse Teresa Romero became the first person to contract the deadly Ebola virus outside of West Africa.

Romero had been treating Spanish missionary Manuel Garcia Viejo, 75, who was repatriated after contracting the disease in Sierra Leone. He died on September 25. Romero, whose condition is now described as “stable but critical” after suffering multiple organ failure, began receiving the experimental drug ZMapp last Friday.

Almost immediately after the case hit the headlines, Madrid’s Popular Party (PP)-appointed regional health chief, Javier Rodríguez, sought to blame Romero for contracting the disease. Accusing her of concealing information from doctors and not taking safety precautions seriously enough, he said, “You don’t need a master’s degree to explain to someone how to put on a [protective] suit. But some people learn faster than others.”

After an announcement that two hair stylists were in isolation after coming into contact with Romero, he spouted, “She can’t be that bad if she went to the beauty salon.”

Romero’s husband, Javier Limón, has called for Rodríguez to “show some personal honour and resign.”

“I beg you, speaking with the ignorance of a welder, to explain to me how to put on a protective suit, since unfortunately my wife did not get a master’s degree in such matters. Teresa had a half-hour or so to learn it from a colleague, but she also has a willingness to serve others and a humility that you yourself lack,” Limón said.

Limón condemned the authorities’ tardy response, pointing out that Romero had said an infected glove may have touched her face when she was removing her suit. She alerted the monitoring teams to her high temperature. By the time the authorities responded six days later and placed her in an isolation unit, she had been in contact with numerous others who are all now in isolation units. Limón said that had the correct training and precautions been taken, his wife would not be fighting for her life and he would not be in an isolation unit.

The World Health Organisation released a statement on October 9 saying Romero “had treated the patient on two occasions on 24th and 25th September 2014. On both occasions she is reported to have worn appropriate personal protection equipment (PPE).”

Rodríguez has now said that his statements were “unfortunate” and that Romero was “an accredited professional with more than 15 years’ experience and a woman with an unparalleled commitment to service. She, like many other excellent professionals, volunteered to treat the missionaries suffering from the Ebola virus, and she deserves all my respect for that.”

He has not resigned.

There is huge anger among health care workers at the dangers they face due to massive cutbacks. Last Friday, nurses protested by throwing surgical gloves at PP prime minister Mariano Rajoy, who was visiting the Ebola isolation unit. Doctors and nurses have called for an investigation into hospital protocols and procedures, with a view to pursuing negligence claims against the state for failing to provide adequate protection.

Dr. Juan Manuel Parra, who treated Romero before her illness was made public and who is also in isolation, condemned the government and medical officials for the lack of training and concern for health workers. He said he only discovered he had treated an Ebola patient after hearing news reports, and that his protective gear was virtually useless, describing how “my sleeves were short at all times.”

Another doctor, Santiago Yus, with more than 30 years’ experience in intensive care, told El Mundo he had only received a 10-minute briefing and been told to study some photos on a wall before treating the Ebola patient: “Tomorrow or the day after tomorrow I will be expected to treat the Ebola patient and nobody has even taught me to put on the protective suit…. I am not ready, I am not trained. And it’s the same with my colleagues.”

Both the current PP and the previous PSOE (Socialist Workers Party) governments in Spain have implemented draconian austerity measures over the last five years that have seen deep cuts in health care. Last year, this included the closure of the infectious disease ward at Carlos III hospital, where Romero worked and is now being treated. It had to be reopened urgently to accommodate patients being brought back to Spain for treatment.

In 2012, the government excluded undocumented migrant workers from accessing free health care services. The European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC) in its October 10 report pointed out that a possible source of infection “is a chain of transmission along the routes used by undocumented migrants who end up on the southern shore of the Mediterranean and attempt to reach Europe by sea. Although the probability of this event is very small, the consequences of an outbreak in a detention centre or on board ship at sea could be dramatic.”

Faced with persecution, exorbitant health care bills and deportation, what motivation would migrants travelling illegally have to present themselves to the authorities for treatment?

The ECDC report provides a damning indictment of the profit system and its inability to manage such outbreaks. “With nearly 8,300 cases and more than 4,000 deaths reported from West Africa by early October 2014, it is clear that the control measures implemented so far have failed to control the outbreak,” it states. “All evidence and predictions indicate that the outbreak will continue to grow and spread geographically in affected countries if control efforts remain unchanged.”

The October 9 WHO report states that the number of infected health care workers (HCWs) “continues to be an alarming feature of this outbreak.

“As of 8 October, 416 HCWs are known to have developed EVD [Ebola Viral Disease] (74 in Guinea, 201 in Liberia, 11 in Nigeria and 129 in Sierra Leone, and one in Spain). 233 HCWs have died as a result of EVD infection (38 in Guinea, 95 in Liberia, five in Nigeria, 95 in Sierra Leone).”

The WHO confirmed the current outbreak on March 22, with cases being reported from December 2013. However, it elicited very little concern from the Western powers, as the disease had never left poverty-stricken Africa. Despite the nominal independence of the countries at the centre of the epidemic—Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia—they are all dominated by giant corporations and banks based in the imperialist centres, which extract vast profits from their mineral wealth and other natural resources. None of the countries are able to provide even the most basic health care for the masses.

Lack of training, safety at Texas hospital where nurses contracted Ebola: here.

This video is called New Method Developed to Detect Ebola Virus.

Ebola: «Les firmes pharmaceutiques ne s’intéressent pas à une maladie qui ne touche que les pauvres»: here.

This week is only the start of the Gambia’s tourist season but Jarju, manager at the Djeliba, says the hotel is only 47% full, compared with 67% last year. Headlines about the rapid spread of Ebola in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea are having a serious knock-on effect for other countries in the continent, according to the Gambia’s ministry of tourism. The number of tourists could be down by as much as 50-60% this season in the Gambia, according to Benjamin Roberts, the tourism minister: here.

United Nations officials said Thursday that the UN trust fund for Ebola has only $100,000 on hand, a fraction of the nearly $1 billion the world body says is needed to contain the spread of the deadly virus. While the UN fund has received pledges of about $20 million from various governments, it has received only $100,000 in actual cash deposits, and that from only one country, Colombia: here.

Kerry acknowledges Cuba’s role in the fight against Ebola: here.

USA: BETHESDA, Md. — As the federal government frantically works to combat the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, and as it responds to a second diagnosis of the disease at home, one of the country’s top health officials says a vaccine likely would have already been discovered were it not for budget cuts: here.

How a Liberian Rubber Plant Prevented Ebola Spread: here.

12 thoughts on “Spanish government party blames Ebola victim nurse

  1. Strike by Ebola health workers in Liberia ends

    The National Health Workers Association called off after two days a strike by Liberian health workers to demand payment of promised safety bonuses. Liberia is the West African country suffering most deaths from the Ebola crisis. Up to October 13, there had been 2,300 deaths from the Ebola virus in Liberia, of which 95 were health workers.

    The Liberian Health Workers Union says the strike call was “massively” supported. Health workers in the capital, Monrovia, had already been on a go-slow for three days prior to the strike at Island Clinic, which is the largest government-run Ebola clinic. The Island Clinic is supported by the World Health Organisation. A patient at the clinic said that no staff were taking care of them and that those who can walk are trying to escape over the fence.

    The health workers’ union chairman said that apart from the non-payments of bonuses, many of the workers are not being paid their regular wages. Health workers in Sierra Leone, Liberia’s neighbour, where 97 health workers have died from the virus and have responsibility for burying Ebola deaths, have been on strike from last week over late payment of bonuses.

    Nigerian teachers in River State demand Ebola preventative measures

    The Nigerian teachers’ union has advised its members not to return to work before Rivers State government has distributed Ebola virus protection materials in all its schools. The Rivers State administration has declared its receipt of N200 million (US$1.2 million)) of Ebola Virus Disease money in August.

    The National Union of Teachers (NUT) issued the directive, saying it was not happy with the administration’s implementation of the precautionary measures. The NUT said that its investigation revealed that only 5 out the 23 local government areas in the state had installed the Ebola preventive measures. The union has instructed its members to stay at home until kits consisting of a thermometer, soaps, hand sanitisers and buckets.


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