Stormont-Vail creates Ebola Task Force

TOPEKA (KSNT) – Around the nation, hospitals are reviewing their medical procedures and protocols as fears of a wider Ebola virus outbreak in the U.S. increase.

In Topeka, Stormont-Vail hospital was concerned enough this week to create a special Task Force which will meet weekly to review safety precautions and medical protocols.

“Do we really think we’ll see a case?” asked hospital Marketing Director Nancy Burkhardt. “Probably not, but we still need to be prepared.”

Burkardt says after the first case was diagnosed in the United States two weeks ago the hospital began reviewing its emergency room procedures. That work, conducted by an internal working group, was completed last week and any new practices went into effect this week.

“Once we thought we had some good protocols in place,” she said in a recent interview with Kansas First News “we realized that this was an issue that spread well beyond the emergency room.”

The Task Force created Monday is charged with a number of goals.

First, to review all medical procedures and protocols which would relate to a case of Ebola, or to infectious diseases in general.

Second, to come up with an education and information plan for all the hospital staff and medical personnel. “We wouldn’t want a cleaning person to accidently break a quarantine protocol in an isolation ward simply because they didn’t know not to do something,” added Burkhardt.

Third, the Task Force has been charged with developing an information and education plan which can be sent to the 23 outlying physician clinics which feed into the Stormont-Vail system.

And finally the group has been asked to check that all the hospitals computer systems, whether prescription drug controls or medical records or patient histories are able to freely exchange information.

“They ran into a problem with this in Texas,” says Burkhardt “and we want to make sure we wouldn’t run into a similar situation here.”

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