DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) — Texas Health Resources CEO Barclay Berdan had a letter published in both The Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star-TelegramSunday editions apologizing for some aspects of the response of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital to the first U.S. case of the Ebola virus.
While expressing gratitude to the caregivers for their “dedication, compassion and tireless work” in caring for Ebola patients Thomas Eric Duncan, and Texas Health Presbyterian nurses Nina Pham and Amber Vinson, who both contracted the virus at the hospital, Berdan acknowledges Texas Health Resources “made mistakes in handling this very difficult challenge.”
In the letter Berdan admitted mistakes were made by Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital staff for not effectively communicating that Duncan had been to Africa among the care team and not correctly diagnosing his symptoms as Ebola during his first emergency room visit on Sept. 25-26, and not fully deploying training and education programs for Ebola preparedness before the virus struck.
“In short, despite our best intentions and skilled medical teams, we did not live up to the high standards that are the heart of our hospital’s history, mission and commitment,” Berdan said.
Berdan went on to say changes have been made since the first case of Ebola was diagnosed. Among those changes training for taking personal protective equipment (PPE) on and off, using a “buddy system” to make sure staff are following proper technique in following the CDC’s guidelines for Ebola procedures, and changes made in the hospital’s electronic medical record keeping.
The letter also addressed that Texas Health Resources is still looking into how “skilled and careful” nurses Pham and Vinson were infected with Ebola, but they have interviewed the staff and reviewed the records and will bring in “outside expertise” to analyze what happened.
“We have remained committed to complying with CDC guidelines from the start; we believe our procedures complied with the CDC Ebola guidelines and our staff implemented them diligently,” Berdan said.
The CEO said as they learn more into their investigations of both how the nurses were infected and the death of patient Duncan, they will share their finding with the CDC; state, county, and local officials; and other hospitals around the country.
“Our prayers are with Mr. Duncan’s family, Ms. Pham and Ms. Vinson, their families and the Ebola victims across the globe. You have our commitment that we will continue to learn from this situation and use those learnings to improve both the care we provide and the ability of our broader health care system to respond to Ebola,” the letter concludes.