Friday, October 24, 2014
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Morality in America

Morality in America

When studying the founding of the United States, you can’t help but encounter the faith of the nation’s forefathers. Time and again they recognized God’s hand in the shaping of America. You will find Him repeatedly mentioned in their words and documents. And you will find Him having an active, vibrant role in the country’s early history.

Today, God continues His work in America – but it’s in a nation that has clearly lost its moral compass. Every week, “Morality in America” will address the myriad of moral concerns facing the United States and undermining its Godly heritage.  After you read, remember to intercede in prayer for America – that this nation will return to the Christian standards that once defined it.

Prepping For The Worst

Morality In America

Are hospitals ready for Ebola?

By Carol Hatcher

As each day passes, millions of Americans scan the headlines for news of another case of Ebola. After the death of Eric Duncan, the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, the Texas Health Presbyterian hospital had all of the personnel in contact with the patient self-monitoring for symptoms.

When twenty-six year old nurse Nina Pham, who cared for Duncan, was confirmed as having the disease, many went into panic mode. Then mere days after Pham’s diagnosis, yet another nurse at the Dallas hospital had a confirmed case of Ebola. Even more concerning, this nurse boarded a commercial airline flight from Ohio to Dallas the day before she tested positive for the disease.

The Centers For Disease Control (CDC) released a statement saying, “As we have said before, because of our ongoing investigation, it is not unexpected that there would be additional exposures.”

The health care professionals at Emory hospital in Atlanta are still in good health after their care of missionaries Dr. Kent Brantley and Nancy Writebol, who contracted Ebola in Liberia, Africa. No one there has shown signs of the disease. Why did Emory’s healthcare workers fair better than those from Dallas? Most likely, it was due to Emory Hospital’s biocontainment unit. They are one of four facilities in the country to have one.  

According to a statement released by National Nurses United, the largest United States nurses’ union, patient Eric Duncan was left in the open Emergency Room for hours before being quarantined. While there, the nurses taking care of his projectile vomit and explosive diarrhea were not properly covered. They used medical tape to fasten the openings in their garments and had no covering on their neck and heads. In addition, some nurses alleged Duncan’s lab samples were allowed to travel through the hospital’s pneumatic tube system, possibly contaminating the entire system. And it was said that contaminated waste was piled up to the ceiling in the Dallas hospital.

Hospitals are not prepared for a virus with this level of contagion. The nurses’ union surveyed over 1,900 nurses at 750 facilities in 46 states. Eighty percent of them stated they had not been given adequate training on dealing with Ebola. Thirty-six percent said their hospitals didn’t have the appropriate equipment and supplies to treat a patient with Ebola, and 76 percent said their facilities had not issued any policies specifically dealing with the disease.

In response to those concerns, the CDC says it is revising safety protocols for health care workers treating Ebola patients to include using protective gear “with no skin showing.” Exposed skin is thought to have contributed to the two nurses in Dallas contracting Ebola.

When your friend is sick, you usually stay away. But caring for the ill is the job of nurses and other healthcare professionals. They put themselves at risk daily for stomach viruses, colds, flu and more. With rules in place for how to handle the average ailments of a hospital, most nurses get along just fine. But now those people who have embodied Matthew 25:37, “I was sick and you visited me,” are on the front lines.

Ebola has taken over 4,400 lives since March of this year. At this rate, the World Health Organization warns there could be as many as 10,000 new cases a week in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea by the end of the year. While some do survive, the mortality rate, between 70 and 90 percent, is quite high. It spreads through bodily fluids and is not airborne. However, its low infectious dose with a high mortality rate has Americans scared. But don’t let that fear consume you. “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7) Let your concern move you to prayer.

Pray for the individuals who have contracted Ebola to be healed. Then pray for the families of those who have already lost their lives. Ask God’s protection for the hospital staff who must care for those with the disease and His mercy for those who are in quarantine hoping to stay well. Pray, too, for wisdom for American hospitals to fully equip their doctors and nurses with the information and equipment to handle such patients. Also remember the scientists who are working tirelessly at the CDC to develop a cure for Ebola. Then pray for President Obama as he must make decisions on new protocols for travel safety and the ways hospitals currently operate concerning the disease.

Carol Hatcher is a former elementary school teacher turned writer, and is a regular contributor to the Vantage Point devotional series. This southern belle lives with her husband and three children in Buford, GA.

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