In light of the recent Ebola virus scare, some clinics are making changes to their patient screening processes and taking Ebola preparedness protocols. A Texas MedClinic started by posting signs on their front door requesting that patients who have traveled to certain West African countries – Nigeria, Guinea, Sierra Leon, and Liberia – within the past 21 days should not enter the facility. If there is a case of Ebola, the clinic wants to isolate it as quickly as possible, ensuring that as few people as possible are exposed to it.
Previously the clinic attempted to screen patients as soon as they walked in the door and then if necessary, put them into an isolated room to examine them away from other patients. They have since decided that it is essential to evaluate patients before they enter the facility. Now if patients have traveled to one of the specific West African countries, they must return to their cars and call the clinic so that a physician can complete a series of pre-screening questions over the phone.
If there is no threat of the patient having Ebola, they will be allowed inside the clinic for further treatment. If the physician believes that the patient may have Ebola, they will call an ambulance. The patient must wait in their car or in the parking lot for the clinic and the emergency officials to put together a plan of action.
The MedClinic believes that the protocol changes are necessary because they have already had multiple patients who have traveled to African countries and showed up with Ebola-like symptoms. It is likely that there will be more of these patients in the near future. The clinic must take the proper measures to protect the other patients as well as their physicians and other staff members.
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