Talk about your breaches in protocol! A photo that is going viral this morning on social media shows health care workers in Dallas wheeling the latest American to contract Ebola, Amber Joy Vinson, across the tarmac at Dallas Love Field Airport to a waiting aircraft that will take her to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta for treatment. According to CBS 11 News in Dallas, there were four medical workers in all, all wearing the now-familiar white hazmat suits. But there is one additional person in the picture dressed in ordinary street clothes, carrying a clipboard.
The first question — who is he? — should be easy enough to answer. The more pressing question — why is he not wearing protective gear? — is both baffling and frightening.
According to CBS, a CDC official in Dallas wasn’t able to confirm whether the man with the clipboard was a member of the national agency’s staff but said he appeared to maintain a “safe distance from Vinson while working on the tarmacs at both ends.” But a video of the transfer and other stills show that the mystery man was extremely close to the stretcher carrying Vinson:
Also, the comment that he worked the tarmac at both ends of the trip indicates that he was aboard the plane, an enclosed space, during the transfer.
The CDC official further emphasized that only the workers in hazmat suits were coming into direct contact with Vinson, and that the man didn’t appear to breach any of the protocols put in place for the handling of patients with the highly infectious disease.
But CBS News chief medical correspondent Dr. Jon LaPook was unsatisfied with those precautions. On “CBS This Morning” he said:
[It makes] no sense whatsoever. There’s a moment where it looks like he comes in pretty close contact with one of the men in the hazmat suits…. That’s not okay. Fortunately Nurse Vinson is in a protective suit, so maybe there’s no virus on the outside there, but that’s not protocol, that’s for sure.
Increasingly, the CDC seems more concerned about covering its own tail than it does about being truthful and above board with the people it is tasked with protecting.
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