There is no word yet on exactly when the patient will arrive, but it is expected that he or she will be treated in the hospital’s wards that are specifically set up to treat highly infectious diseases.
The “hospital has a specially built isolation unit to treat patients exposed to certain serious infectious diseases,” Misty Williams wrote in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Set up in collaboration with the Atlanta-based U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the unit is physically separate from other patient areas and is one of only four such facilities in the country.”
Doctors, nurses, and other hospital staff who work on such dangerous cases are “specially trained,” and a statement from Emory indicated that the hospital and its staff were “fully prepared for this type of situation.”
According to Vaughn Sterling of CNN, Medevac will actually be picking up more than one American Ebola patient in Liberia. It is not known whether the Ebola patient headed to Atlanta is one of the Americans with Ebola, both of them, or another patient entirely.
A CBS/Associated Press report from earlier in the day noted that “the U.S. is looking into Medevac options to bring two American aid workers diagnosed with Ebola back to the U.S.,” citing White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest as the source. That approach would be consistent with previous outbreaks, such as SARS, when infected Americans have been brought home so that they can receive treatment in the U.S. healthcare system.
A statement released Thursday by SIM, a Christian mission working with Ebola patients in Liberia, indicated that the condition of healthcare worker Nancy Writebol, an American infected with Ebola, had taken a turn for the worse. Dr. Kent Brantly, an American doctor with Samaritan’s Purse who works with Writebol, is also battling the virus.
Here’s the full statement from Emory:
Emory University Hospital has been informed that there are plans to transfer a patient with Ebola virus infection to its special facility containment unit within the next several days. We do not know at this time when the patient will arrive.
Emory University Hospital has a specially built isolation unit set up in collaboration with the CDC to treat patients who are exposed to certain serious infectious diseases. It is physically separate from other patient areas and has unique equipment and infrastructure that provide an extraordinarily high level of clinical isolation. It is one of only four such facilities in the country.
Emory University Hospital physicians, nurses and staff are highly trained in the specific and unique protocols and procedures necessary to treat and care for this type of patient. For this specially trained staff, these procedures are practiced on a regular basis throughout the year so we are fully prepared for this type of situation.
An Emory University spokesperson declined to provide additional details.