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Ontario Nurses’ Association appeals SARS lawsuit ruling: ONA says government must be accountable for nurses’ safety
August 06, 2009
TORONTO—The Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) has applied to the Supreme Court of Canada for leave to appeal the decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal that dismissed an action on behalf of 53 nurses who contracted SARS while caring for SARS patients in 2003.
The May 7th decision by the Court of Appeal said that the province of Ontario owes no private duty of care to the province’s front-line registered nurses. This ruling leaves RNs at risk as they care for patients during the current H1N1 flu pandemic and in other outbreaks of potentially deadly diseases, such as SARS.
The nurses allege that the province assumed responsibility for their health and safety when it issued detailed directives to health-care workers advising them what precautionary measures to take – and those measures proved to be inadequate. Nurse Tecla Lin died as a result of her contact with SARS. The other nurses all contracted SARS and while some have recovered sufficiently to return to work, many others continue to struggle with lingering symptoms, including constant fatigue and respiratory illness.
SPECIAL REPORT: Nurses Were Sacrificed
TEN YEARS AFTER SARS: WHERE ARE WE NOW? WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED?
Ten years ago this spring, Ontario was gripped by a terror we had never known: Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, better known by its acronym, SARS. In this special retrospective, we relive the nightmare our members on the front lines experienced with a province and employers ill-equipped to handle the deadly virus, the lessons learned, and why we are hopeful our members will never be put in a similar situation again.
originally posted by: bludragin
a reply to: Staroth
How about the nurse who got Ebola reporting that all of the healthcare workers caring for Patient Zero in Dallas were told to wrap their exposed necks in medical tape? What next - Duct tape will be declared even safer? Yeesh!
For Dr. Joshua Mugele, the counting began one morning in June when he showed up for work at the John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital in Monrovia, Liberia. Mugele, an ER doc and associate professor of clinical emergency medicine at Indiana University School of Medicine, was on a fellowship, working with staff to develop disaster readiness programs. The project had nothing to do with Ebola.
On that particular morning, Mugele showed up at the hospital to find a colleague in the parking lot, nervously making phone calls. When the man saw Mugele he told him the news: "We have a patient with Ebola."
In the end, they decided the most important thing was to move the man into an isolated room with its own trash can. Not a lot to ask for and yet there just weren't any empty rooms to spare; a small enclosed area at the back of the emergency department would have to do.
They began gowning up. Mugele says everyone was nervous, yet they were joking around. At one point, he reached for a pair of gloves and grabbed for a gown when Borbor stopped him. "He laughed at me and said there's no way you're going to be touching this patient. He said, 'I'm not going to make the international news for letting the first white man catch Ebola.'"
Between the four of them, they were able to navigate the patient and his mattress around the iron bed. They needed to take a break, so they put the patient and mattress down. They then shoved the mattress through the doorway as much as they could and climbed over it, "pulling it the rest of the way into the small isolation room," says Mugele. "It's terrifying watching it." It was equally terrifying for the custodians and for Brisbane, who came perilously close to an Ebola patient with no protective equipment except a pair of gloves.
"The patient is septic so he's covered in sweat," Mugele says. "And these guys are now all in this hot little room and they're covered in sweat. Dr. Borbor's mask actually slips down over his mouth at one point." Mugele reached over to adjust the mask but Borbor snapped at him: "Get Brisbane to do it, he's already touched the patient."
Brisbane died a few days later. So did Borbor, the man who just might have saved Mugele's life by preventing him from getting close to the patient.
The custodians, those two nervous young men who helped move the patient, left the hospital that morning and have not been heard from since.
In past Ebola outbreaks, most infections occurred in caregivers - and outbreaks tended to spread out from clinics. So we have a few lessons to learn from history.
originally posted by: antar
a reply to: Staroth
Man, that bleach is probably complicating matters not to mention risking lives as it affects the lungs. In the picture and not the fist I have seen it happening, the patient area soaked in bleach, wow, really a complication.