Friday, October 10, 2014

Madrid hospital staff quit over Ebola fears

Carlos III hospital treating virus-hit nurse Teresa Romero Ramos suffers staff shortage amid concerns over training and safety

Ashifa Kassam in Madrid

The Guardian, Friday 10 October 2014 07.12 EDT
A medical practitioner wearing protective clothing treats an isolated patient on the sixth floor of the the Carlos III hospital in Madrid, Spain. Photograph: AP

Carlos III hospital in Madrid is scrambling to contract extra personnel as worries about lack of training and safety standards have left some staff refusing to attend to possible Ebola cases.

Fourteen people are in quarantine, including four health workers who treated Teresa Romero Ramos, the Spanish nurse who contracted the virus after treating an Ebola patient repatriated from Sierra Leone. Seven people including two hairdressers who had given Romero a beauty treatment before she was diagnosed with Ebola turned themselves in late on Thursday to the isolation unit. None had so far tested positive for the disease except Romero, whose condition was described by the hospital as serious but stable. Her treatment has included injections with antibodies extracted from the blood of Ebola survivors.

While no official numbers were available, Elvira González of the SAE nurses’ union said fear of Ebola had caused some staff to refuse to treat certain patients, while others had resigned their posts.

Amid concerns over inadequate training and safety standards, one health worker told El País newspaper that many staff members were making excuses to avoid work. “They are saying they’ve got their period, that they’re getting dizzy, that they’re claustrophobic … People get anxious and they can’t work like that, being so nervous.”