Statement on Ebola

October 17, 2014

SoutheastHEALTH’s Vice President of Physician Services and Chief Medical Officer Matt Shoemaker, DO, has issued the following statement regarding Ebola.

At SoutheastHEALTH, we continually work to ensure that we are prepared for all types of infectious diseases, including Ebola.

We have plans in place to care for patients with infectious diseases.

We meet national standards on infection prevention and control established by a variety of governmental and regulatory entities, including The Joint Commission, which accredits hospitals.

We routinely conduct drills with all first-contact personnel, clinical providers, ancillary staff and any other staff as appropriate regarding the proper use of personal protective equipment.

We follow standard isolation precautions, including wearing appropriate personal protective equipment for all types of infectious diseases. We would follow these procedures in the event a patient is suspected to have been infected with Ebola. This includes the use of:

  • Disposable gloves
  • Fluid resistant/impermeable gowns
  • Eye protection (goggles or face shield)
  • Facemask
  • Additional personal protective equipment, as needed, including double gloving, and disposable shoe and leg covers.

We have posted signs in our Emergency Department, asking patients who have traveled abroad, particularly to areas of the world with major Ebola outbreaks, to inform us of this on arrival. As part of triage, patients are routinely questioned as to whether they have taken any recent international trips.

It is important to remember that a person infected with the Ebola virus is not contagious until symptoms appear. According to the CDC, the virus is spread only through direct contact with bodily fluids of a person who has been infected. It is NOT spread through the air.

As of mid-October, only one person in the United States – a nation of 319 million people – had died of Ebola. According to the National Safety Council, you are more likely to die in your lifetime from:

  • Heart disease and cancer, 1 in 7
  • Motor vehicle accidents, 1 in 112
  • Assault with a firearm, 1 in 356
  • Accidental drowning, 1 in 1,043
  • Exposure to fire or smoke, 1 in 1,418
  • Lightning, 1 in 136,011
  • Cataclysmic storm, 1 in 83,922

Finally, we wish to assure everyone that as the leading healthcare provider in our region, SoutheastHEALTH will continue to follow all necessary protocols to provide for the safety of our patients and their families, as well as all visitors and staff.