SARS Response Failed to Protect HCW's

  1. The final report of the Ontario SARS commission came out today:
    The ChronicleHerald.ca


    Quote from [url=http://thechronicleherald.ca/Front/9002230.html
    The ChronicleHerald.ca[/url]
    Forty-five per cent of Ontario's 375 SARS cases were health-care workers, and two nurses and a doctor died from SARS.
    A multi-million dollar class action has been launched by nurses against the government. Information about the nature of the threat was witheld from nurses for weeks after the outbreak - although attending doctors were informed from the start.

    The SARS Commission - Home Page

    From the introduction:
    <snip>
    Nurses lived daily with the fear that they would die or infect their families with a fatal disease.

    The nine-year-old daughter of one nurse asked:
    Mommy,are you going to die?

    Respiratory technicians,doctors,hospital workers,paramedics and home care work-
    ers lived with the same fear.
    <snip>
    Last edit by indigo girl on Jan 9, '07
    •  
  2. 28 Comments

  3. by   911fltrn
    I love the quote at the end of your message. I believe we are there.
  4. by   indigo girl
    Commentary on the SARS Report - Effect Measure

    Effect Measure

    Quote from [url=http://scienceblogs.com/effectmeasure/2007/01/sars_in_2003_flu_2007_and_beyo.php#more
    Effect Measure[/url]
    ... as Globe and Mail columnist Campbell observes, systems don't fail by themselves. They fail because they are badly designed, improperly operated or allowed to decay and fall into disrepair. Workers die because worker safety has a low priority. These are all consequences of the actions of individual people.
    Last edit by indigo girl on Jan 10, '07
  5. by   Simplepleasures
    Truly frightening,what can a nurse do to protect herself if her facility wont?Should nurses be buying their own PPE? What equipement should a nurse have to keep herself safe?Could a nurse refuse to come to work or stay at work if her facility did not have the correct PPE? What would the ramifications be if nurses went AWOL?Would there be some sort of law enforcement at the door to prevent nurses from leaving?
  6. by   pickledpepperRN
    I think we need to bring this up at all staff meetings and open forums, write letters to the editor, and insist our professional associations get involved in planning before we have a worldwide pandemic to deal with.

    I asked at an open forum at my facility. The CEO actually said that if staff are afraid to come to work for fear of getting a disease it will harm the hospitals reputation. Patients will choose another hospital.

    He needs LOTS of education!
  7. by   indigo girl
    Ontario Nurses Respond to the SARS Report:
    H5N1: Ontario nurses repond to the SARS report


    Quote from [url=http://crofsblogs.typepad.com/h5n1/2007/01/ontario_nurses_.html
    H5N1: Ontario nurses repond to the SARS report[/url]

    During the two SARS outbreaks, two ONA members died and dozens fell ill with the disease while caring for patients. ONA believes systemic problems including the lack of infection control policies, unsafe practices and inadequate funding contributed to the lack of protection of workers.

    “During SARS, nurses experienced a steady stream of inconsistent, contradictory and incorrect information about transmission, infection controls and protective protocols,” says Haslam-Stroud.
    Last edit by indigo girl on Jan 10, '07
  8. by   SuesquatchRN
    Indigo girl,

    Nothing to do with this thread, but I am interested to know if you've ever sonsidered pursuing a degree in public health, since it's such an obvious passion of yours.
  9. by   indigo girl
    Quote from Suesquatch
    Indigo girl,

    Nothing to do with this thread, but I am interested to know if you've ever sonsidered pursuing a degree in public health, since it's such an obvious passion of yours.
    Suesquatch, nice to see you back. How have you been?

    I am laughing because truly, I never have considered such a thing. My interest was more in the diseases themselves, but now I find myself in the very strange position of looking at the various ways to keep people, and animals from being infected. I am forced to look at the efficacy of what we are doing and not doing. SARS is a very interesting example, at least to me, of system failure.

    It may be that I have more of an activist focus rather than a public health focus because I come from a family of activists.
    I do find myself talking to, and asking for advice from some very impressive people both by telephone, and on the internet. This week alone, I have communicated with the Program Coordinator of Bioterrorism and the Public Health of the state I work in, a Dept of Health nurse responsible for policy setting in regards to panflu planning in long term care, the professional practice representative of the state nurses union, a scientist who runs a flu forum , a former medic who writes a very well read flu blog, another very informed person who runs another flu forum, several RN's from many states that post on the various flu forums, an RN from Northern Ireland, who heads a rapid response team, and inservices her staff on panflu, as well as my ex husband, a pathologist, who runs a blood bank in a major east coast city. All of these people have the same concerns, but not all work in public health. We want to see our country, and the world prepared for a possible pandemic that we are not sure is coming, but we feel most likely is.

    Like many on the flu forums, I do my share of research, and I try to understand what is happening. You are my colleagues. I bring what I find over here to keep this subject alive for you. It is very, very difficult to educate people about a disease like panflu. It is far away, and seems surreal. What makes it real for me, and those like me, who study it, are the victims, themselves. I am very concerned that these people are young, mostly under age 40, 50% school age kids. The other piece is, we are the caregivers in any scenario involving panflu coming here. Virtually all of the nurses that I have talked to across the country have said that there are inadequate PPE, and no education on this subject. My personal experience has been the same.

    I find myself trying to change that in various ways. I know that I can not do this alone. I am just one person. I do what I can, and I have to trust that others will do what they can.

    I have had people debate with me about the fact that no sustained human to human transmission has occurred yet. That is their stated reason for not being concerned. I understand it, but I believe that it is a very shortsighted view given the history of pandemics, and the history of the H5N1 virus in particular. I also have no crystal ball to make any predictions about this virus or any of the other contenders. Sometimes I am tempted to ask, especially if a poster is under age 40, "Do you feel lucky?", but I have managed to restrain myself.

    I am happy that you have read this thread, and taken the time to reply.
    I hope that it gives you food for thought, and stimulates you to ask questions of your workplace, and the authorities who are responsible for the public health. Even if you do not belong to a union, you can communciate your concerns to them, and I hope that you will do so. They do work for the safety of nurses in the workplace, all nurses not just the union members.

    indigo
  10. by   Gizzey
    Quote from spacenurse
    I asked at an open forum at my facility. The CEO actually said that if staff are afraid to come to work for fear of getting a disease it will harm the hospitals reputation. Patients will choose another hospital.

    He needs LOTS of education!
    He needs a slap about the head! Choose another hospital indeed, in a pandemic people won't bother chosing. It'll be the nearest and quickly!!

    A case of being promoted to your own level of incompetence
  11. by   Gizzey
    Quote from indigo girl
    Suesquatch, nice to see you back. How have you been?

    I am laughing because truly, I never have considered such a thing. My interest was more in the diseases themselves, but now I find myself in the very strange position of looking at the various ways to keep people, and animals from being infected. I am forced to look at the efficacy of what we are doing and not doing. SARS is a very interesting example, at least to me, of system failure.

    It may be that I have more of an activist focus rather than a public health focus because I come from a family of activists.
    I do find myself talking to, and asking for advice from some very impressive people both by telephone, and on the internet. This week alone, I have communicated with the Program Coordinator of Bioterrorism and the Public Health of the state I work in, a Dept of Health nurse responsible for policy setting in regards to panflu planning in long term care, the professional practice representative of the state nurses union, a scientist who runs a flu forum , a former medic who writes a very well read flu blog, another very informed person who runs another flu forum, several RN's from many states that post on the various flu forums, an RN from Northern Ireland, who heads a rapid response team, and inservices her staff on panflu, as well as my ex husband, a pathologist, who runs a blood bank in a major east coast city. All of these people have the same concerns, but not all work in public health. We want to see our country, and the world prepared for a possible pandemic that we are not sure is coming, but we feel most likely is.

    Like many on the flu forums, I do my share of research, and I try to understand what is happening. You are my colleagues. I bring what I find over here to keep this subject alive for you. It is very, very difficult to educate people about a disease like panflu. It is far away, and seems surreal. What makes it real for me, and those like me, who study it, are the victims, themselves. I am very concerned that these people are young, mostly under age 40, 50% school age kids. The other piece is, we are the caregivers in any scenario involving panflu coming here. Virtually all of the nurses that I have talked to across the country have said that there are inadequate PPE, and no education on this subject. My personal experience has been the same.

    I find myself trying to change that in various ways. I know that I can not do this alone. I am just one person. I do what I can, and I have to trust that others will do what they can.

    I have had people debate with me about the fact that no sustained human to human transmission has occurred yet. That is their stated reason for not being concerned. I understand it, but I believe that it is a very shortsighted view given the history of pandemics, and the history of the H5N1 virus in particular. I also have no crystal ball to make any predictions about this virus or any of the other contenders. Sometimes I am tempted to ask, especially if a poster is under age 40, "Do you feel lucky?", but I have managed to restrain myself.

    I am happy that you have read this thread, and taken the time to reply.
    I hope that it gives you food for thought, and stimulates you to ask questions of your workplace, and the authorities who are responsible for the public health. Even if you do not belong to a union, you can communciate your concerns to them, and I hope that you will do so. They do work for the safety of nurses in the workplace, all nurses not just the union members.

    indigo
    Hey Indigo,
    Just checking in! Any further updates?
  12. by   indigo girl
    Gizzey, nice to see you over here! Updates on panflu are over at:
    http://allnurses.com/forums/f195/pan...184877-33.html

    Or did you mean in my state queries? For that, I am still thinking about more questions to send to Dept of Health, and I also want to find out how their meeting went with the Nursing Home Association.
  13. by   Gizzey
    Quote from indigo girl
    Gizzey, nice to see you over here! Updates on panflu are over at:
    http://allnurses.com/forums/f195/pan...184877-33.html

    Or did you mean in my state queries? For that, I am still thinking about more questions to send to Dept of Health, and I also want to find out how their meeting went with the Nursing Home Association.
    Yep! I meant your State enquiries..Good to see things are progressing..!
    I am preparing for a Storm Force 11 tonight. Last night was the warning. Very calm now so I expect to have a prolonged period with power..The calm before the storm!
    Feel free to ask any questions now before I disappear into cyberspace again..LOL
  14. by   indigo girl
    Quote from Gizzey
    Yep! I meant your State enquiries..Good to see things are progressing..!
    I am preparing for a Storm Force 11 tonight. Last night was the warning. Very calm now so I expect to have a prolonged period with power..The calm before the storm!
    Feel free to ask any questions now before I disappear into cyberspace again..LOL
    OK, could you explain exactly what your job is at your hospital, and how it could relate to pandemic flu response. I am not really clear about your role.
    Are you satisfied with the PPE, and the education that the hospital has provided?

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