We now know why the mysterious man who was aiding the evacuation of 29-year-old Ebola patient Amber Vinson onto a plane wasn’t wearing a hazmat suit or any other protective gear.
He wasn’t supposed to be wearing one, according to the group in charge of the evacuation.
He is the medical protocol supervisor, responsible for supervising everyone else involved in the process. Because the protective gear seriously limits vision, he was there to provide the eyes that other people didn’t have.
Vinson was flown to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta on Phoenix Air, the same company that flew Ebola survivors Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol to Atlanta from Liberia.
They traveled on an air ambulance that is specially designed to carry highly contagious patients safely.
“Our medical professionals in the biohazard suits have limited vision and mobility, and it is the protocol supervisor’s job to watch each person carefully and give them verbal directions to ensure no close contact protocols are violated,” a Phoenix Air spokesperson told ABC News.
“There is absolutely no problem with this and in fact ensures an even higher level of safety for all involved,” the spokesperson told ABC.
Being very close to an Ebola patient without protective gear could be dangerous if the patient were to vomit and those fluids touched an unprotected person. However, scary as it is, the virus isn’t contagious without that contact.
The healthcare workers who were infected in Dallas were inadequately prepared for that kind of close contact with Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan.
Even removing protective gear is risky, as it’s incredibly easy to get a tiny bit of fluid onto your skin while taking off the different layers.
For that reason, a supervisor from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention will now be sent to any hospital treating an Ebola patient to watch over everyone using protective gear — just as the man with the clipboard was doing while Vinson was being loaded onto the plane.
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