Wichita Falls, TX -
The first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States is putting hospitals across the country on edge, including those right here in Texoma.
Newschannel 6 talked to health officials at United Regional Hospital and they said they are prepared in case the deadly disease makes its way to Wichita Falls.
Doctors at the hospital believe it is highly unlikely for them to encounter a patient with the Ebola virus. However, they have taken necessary precautions to ensure their staff is ready if a patient with symptoms of Ebola was to walk into their doors.
"We saw that the disease showed up in the United States. There were some things that we needed to augment our program with," said Dr. Scott Hoyer, Chief Medical Officer at United Regional Hospital.
Recently, top brass at the hospital met to compile a plan using a checklist provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"In the emergency room a big focus is to make sure our front line staff know what to look for and what to ask when patients show up," said Dr. Hoyer.
A challenge Dr. Hoyer said will not be easy, because symptoms of Ebola are very common to everyday viruses.
"So what we have to get good at is differentiating those patients who may have Ebola," said Dr. Hoyer. "Asking the question about travel to West Africa within the last 21-days or exposure to an individual who is sick, has symptoms, who has been in West Africa."
If a person was exposed to the virus, Dr. Hoyer said they must then isolate them from other patients. a process he says the hospital got plenty of practice of during flu season last year.
"The patient would be immediately isolated and placed in an isolation room and treatment would get started and we would contact the CDC," said Dr. Hoyer. "People going into the room will have to wear gowns, masks, they'll have to wear goggles or eye protection, and they'll have to wear gloves."
Jimmie Johnson, Newschannel 6
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