WESTWOOD (CBSLA.com) — UCLA conducted a “big exercise” Friday on diagnosing and treating patients with Ebola virus symptoms.
The exercise began at 11 a.m. and was observed by LA County health department officials.
The recent infection of two Dallas nurses — who treated an Ebola patient — emphasized the need for more training and drills.
The event includes protocols for transporting patients through the hospital, disposing of trash and waste, dedicating equipment for Ebola patient use only, setting up a mobile laboratory, acquiring specialized personal protective equipment and staff training.
Blood analysis of patients suspected of having Ebola will be conducted in the mobile lab and not the medical center’s regular laboratory.
“Blood is highly infectious,” UCLA’s Dr. Zachary Rubin said. “We don’t want to risk contaminating the entire (healthcare) system.”
More than 100 kits, consisting of respirators and full-body suits that include hoods and booties, are available for doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists and other personnel in contact with Ebola patients.
The specialized equipment will be available in the emergency departments at UCLA’s Westwood and Santa Monica medical centers, though the Westwood facility is where a patient suspected of Ebola would be brought.
Rubin said the “minimum number of people we need to take care of” Ebola patients will be used in an effort to to limit possible staff exposure to the virus, according to Rubin.
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