Houston hospital plans to retrain staff following second Ebola case

Monday, October 13, 2014
Houston hospital plans to retrain staff
In the wake of this new case, we've learned that at least one local hospital system plans to re-train its workers on Ebola safety

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- There is serious concern about how a nurse who supposedly followed the proper procedures became infected with Ebola. In the wake of this new case, Eyewitness News has learned that at least one local hospital system plans to retrain its workers on Ebola safety.

"Ebola is not the only infectious disease out there," said Dr. Robert Emery with UT Health Systems.

Dr. Emery is an expert on infectious diseases. For years, he's been the go to guy to train UT Health staff on how to be better prepared when and if a case like Ebola were to hit Houston.

"I'm still confident that this outbreak will be contained in the United States we are learning as we go," he said.

It's still unclear how the second U.S. Ebola patient contracted the deadly disease, despite wearing safety gear. But Dr. Emery says all it takes is one tiny mistake.

"It could have been something as simple as the goggles moving and perhaps touching their eyes," said Dr. Emery. "This event tells us we need to go back and maybe refocus on the technique."

He still has faith in the protective gear. But the doctor says it will only work if healthcare workers use proper technique putting it on and taking it off.

Starting tomorrow he will begin to retrain the staff at UT Health, using a white dust to represent a virus like Ebola.

"This stuff gets everywhere," he said.

Once the gloves come off, the black light shows the health care worker if they were able to remove their gloves without getting the contaminant on them.

"It's not merely just putting on gloves but it's the ability to remove those gloves in such a way that you don't contaminate yourself or someone else," said Dr. Emery.

The doctor says getting ready for the next Ebola is like using a cookbook. You can read and re-read the recipes but you won't know you can make the dish successfully unless you practice.