I’m sure everyone’s sick of hearing about viruses named after beer, so sorry. I went on a call today that was flagged as a possible exposure to said virus, because the caller answered that he had been in contact with someone that had traveled outside of CONUS. (Continental U.S.)
The dispatcher didn’t ask if the sick patient had been in contact with that traveler, she hadn’t. If we had followed the impromptu protocol for an exposed person with general sickness, we would have caused a logistical nightmare for ourselves and the Hospital Emergency Department.
Not that we or they couldn’t handle it, but a lot of resources would have been wasted needlessly.
We would have donned full gowns outside the residence, then transported her to the ED where they would have isolated a section of the department as a quarantine area.
The issue isn’t really about wasting stuff or supplies, but more so what this distraction causes down the line. Every action has consequences good or bad. If an inordinate amount of resources and time are spent on a certain thing, then someone else, that might have an acute, time sensitive medical emergency is potentially affected.
The patient in question is also affected. Her issue wasn’t virus related but possibly sepsis due to an infected kidney, which can produce fever, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and hypotension secondary to the infection but similar to flu like symptoms. The time for her to receive the definitive care she needs is prolonged.
I’m pretty sure that in certain cases in Washington state, all the responders and hospital staff were also quarantined for 2 weeks taking them out of the game. Someone has to pick up that slack, it’s someone else working double, which creates it’s own problems.
I’m not saying the precautions shouldn’t be taken, I don’t know what the answer is. But as a point of observation, I can say with reasonable certainty that people will die, have more serious injury or prolonged illness just from the process of trying to stop something that is almost inevitable. I mean it’s not like they’ve ever stopped the flu from making it’s rounds every year, despite having vaccines.
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