The Ebola scare is yet another example of the lax attitude by the government toward any concern by the average American. Sure, there is little likelihood the Joe Citizen will contract the deadly virus, but we like our government to assure us we'll be OK, and they must - must - look competent and in charge. Competence doesn't mean telling American just what we what we want to hear either. It means making sure we know the truth of the thing and that Common Sense rules.
|Fear, fear and more fear - you little|
@@#$@! We'll get you, you virus!
The actions by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in dealing with the first victim of Ebola in the United States, and communicating the realities of the virus and our ability to fight it within our borders to us, did not meet the high level of competence we expect from public officials. After a string of government-related scandals and media hype over the past few years, it's become a tiring and distracting circumstance Numerous mistakes were made:
1) not sending expert personnel to Dallas immediately to ensure proper care of Mr. Duncan - however, the local authorities should have requested help and readily accepted the notion they were out of their depth. Both the hospital and the CDC should have considered moving the patient to one of the five regional CDC hospitals that have both the experienced personnel and technology to care for such a patient. Sending Mr. Duncan home after he had told ER personnel he was from Liberia borderlines on the reckless or even negligent;
2) assuming and blaming the first American to contract the disease within our borders, a nurse treating the now-deceased Thomas Duncan, for not following protocol before looking at the protocol itself. It is a knee-jerk bureaucratic response to blame the individual rather than admit a systemic or procedural problem;
3) not communicating those protocols (now in question themselves) to local hospitals in a forceful and meaningful way - a lengthy email is not enough - this may have more to do with budget constraints than competence. Remember those austerity cuts to the budget over the past few years? Budget decisions have real-life ramifications - the next time your member of Congress rails about cutting the budget to reduce the deficit ask them what items they plan to cut - and arbitrary across-the-board cutting is not a way to do it either;
|A dose of Common Sense =|
a pound of cure
4) telling the second nurse it was OK to travel - although the individual is partly to blame on this (we know our bodies and she of all people should have taken an extra dose of caution whether she knew the other nurse was sick or not); remember Mr. Duncan (God, rest his soul) didn't think he was sick either even though he was directly in contact with someone who was ill in Liberia.
Here at C2 we don't go for calling on department heads to quit every time their is a misstep. It was a first time experience to deal with a victim of the virus who, should have taken a dose of caution and stayed in Liberia until he was sure he wasn't sick, but individuals have different levels of both experience and education - that's why we employ experts to help all of us. We envision this kind of situation in an episode of a television dram, but nobody thinks it will actually happen until it does.
|Not fired, just moved to treating the flu -|
which will kill more people this year than
That's why C2 doesn't go for firing officials as a knee-jerk reaction. The way we evaluate these officials is how they respond to being wrong - do they acknowledge the wrong and work to be better, like CDC Director Tom Frieden did do, or act like former Secret Service Director Julia Pierson before members of Congress - confrontational, defensive and dismissive? This should be our base criteria before we get the torches and march to city hall.
So where to do we go from here? Well there have been a number of good decisions made in the last couple days, moving both of the patients from Dallas to CDC regional centers being the best move of all. Texas Health Presbyterian was obviously not prepared for the situation and was slow to get up to speed and now, one would expect, is overwhelmed with the idea of any more Ebola victims.
At a different level, there is confirmation that an additional four thousand reserves from the 101st Airborne to compliment the three hundred already deployed West Africa. During the congressional hearings yesterday we were glad to hear they would be using the protocols developed by Doctors Without Borders, who have yet to lose a single healthcare worker to Ebola in the midst of thousands of cases.
Other proposals such as a travel ban and appointing an Ebola Czar to handle the issue are more controversial and political in our opinion. A travel ban would not be perfect and in fact may worsen the situation by driving victims of the virus (and they are victims rather than some sort of enemy to be defended from), underground and away from acknowledging to officials they may be sick. As well, it creates problems and complicates getting help to the countries affected in the form of economic and humanitarian assistance.
|Confirming a Surgeon General would be|
a better idea. Klain is a political manager
and Ebola is now a political issue.
Probably a good choice.
A Czar is a curious idea in that we are missing a Surgeon General that oversees the CDC, the National Institutes of Health, and other related agencies in the first place. C2 would like to ask why the Senate hasn't even voted on the White Houses' nominee a year after his nomination. A Surgeon General would have been the face of this issue rather than Director Frieden, who would have been free to do is J-O-B rather than fielding questions from a media that is out of control on every issue these days. Let's vote on the Surgeon General, first, then see if need yet another un-elected official to oversea a temporary problem.
Please note that throughout this post C2 has never used the word "crisis". Crisis is well over-used these days. We have an education crisis, a healthcare crisis, a drug crisis, a crisis of confidence - it goes on and on. Websters dictionary defines crisis this way: a critical event or point of decision where, if not handled appropriately or in a timely manner may lead to a catastrophe or disaster. We don't see an imminent disaster in the offing here in the United States but Africa is a different question - there is a crisis there, and the next time we see a Facebook posting about cutting aid to foreign countries we need to think about ISIS and our need for allies in the region to fight them over there, and as well, to fight Ebola...over there.
Finally, today is twenty-three days after Mr. Duncan was known to have the disease. Where is the good news that the people who were quarantined due to having contact with him have no more worry of contracting the disease? Where is the reporting of good news? C2 is thinking of creating it's own news service that will responsibly report not only on what creates concerns, but also news that alleviates those concerns - or a resolution of those concerns. By the way, remember Kobani? I encourage the Constant Reader to Google the international news concerning Kobani and remember that the last news reports we heard in the United States were of it's impending fall to ISIS.
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