Virginia Hospital Center refused to admit the potential Ebola patient from the Pentagon on Friday, according to county officials, despite the hospital saying two weeks earlier that it was ready to handle such patients.
Responding to an inquiry from ARLnow.com today, the Arlington County Fire Department confirmed reports that VHC refused the woman — who at the time was thought to potentially have the deadly Ebola virus — when medics brought her to the hospital. She never left the ambulance.
“We were turned away,” said ACFD spokeswoman Lt. Sarah Marchegiani. “We followed our protocol and brought the patient to the closest hospital (VHC), at which point we were rerouted to Fairfax Inova.”
VHC has not responded to multiple requests for comment from ARLnow.com. Marchegiani said the hospital claimed not to be prepared for such a patient, even though the department had previously been told VHC could accept suspected Ebola patients.
“The reason told to our medical director was that they couldn’t handle the patient,” said Marchegiani. Earlier this month, however, VHC told TV station WUSA 9 that it was ready to deal with potential Ebola patients.
“Virginia Hospital Center wants to reassure our community that the Hospital has the infrastructure and procedures already in place to screen, and if necessary, isolate, test and treat all high-risk patients. We drill and prepare for just such situations; therefore, our staff is highly trained to take appropriate precautions for a suspected and/or confirmed Ebola case.
A multi-disciplinary taskforce has reviewed our infection control guidelines and reinforced education of the Hospital staff to ensure it can detect a patient with Ebola Virus Disease, protect all healthcare workers so they can safely care for the patient, and respond to the patient in a timely manner.”
An ARLnow.com tipster indicates emergency responders called the VHC emergency room from the scene at the Pentagon, and were told to bring the patient over. The tipster claims hospital administration refused to allow the patient inside once she arrived at the hospital. The person tells ARLnow.com there was a “heated exchange” between the emergency physician and hospital administration inside the emergency room while the patient waited in the ambulance. The tipster also claims hospital administration worried it would lose business if it came to be seen as an “Ebola hospital.”
The county’s emergency officials reportedly have had talks with officials at VHC since the incident. ACFD confirms VHC has agreed to accept potential Ebola patients in the future.
Arlington County officials also have confirmed that the patient had not traveled to West Africa, as she allegedly first told authorities. In fact, she had not left the country at all, the county said, and had no contact with other potentially infected people.
“She had stated that she had traveled to Sierra Leone at the scene and did exhibit symptoms consistent with Ebola, so responders took all appropriate steps,” said Diana Sun, Arlington County’s Director of Communications. “There was an investigative process that went beyond Arlington. During the course of this, people close to the patient were interviewed and stated that she had not left the country. The patient herself, later in the afternoon, recanted her story and said that she had not left the country. When that last piece came in, public health officials felt confident in not pursuing” further testing for the Ebola virus.
There’s no word yet on whether the woman will face any charges.
Update at 5:10 p.m. — Arlington County officials say in a press release that the woman who was sick at the Pentagon this morning does not have Ebola.
Based on the public health investigation, which included the travel history of a woman who became ill this morning in a Pentagon parking lot, and on questioning of her by medical staff, medical authorities are confident that she does not have Ebola.
Arlington County Fire Department Emergency Medical Services transported the woman to Fairfax Inova Hospital Friday morning, after she became ill in a Pentagon parking lot. The woman had displayed symptoms consistent with the virus and her travel history was uncertain. She was put in isolation at Fairfax Inova Hospital. Arlington County took all necessary precautions to protect public health during this event, including activating its Emergency Operations Center. We are beginning to break down those operations now.
(Updated at 5:05 p.m.) Arlington County’s responded to the Pentagon this morning due to an possible Ebola case on a tour bus.
Medics responded to the Pentagon this morning for a report of a woman on a bus who was sick and vomiting. When they were told that she had recently arrived from Africa, the hazmat team was called out of “a complete abundance of caution,” Pentagon Force Protection Agency spokesman Chris Layman told ARLnow.com.
A large portion of the Pentagon south parking lot was cordoned off with caution tape, and police are telling those who don’t work at the Pentagon to avoid the immediate surrounding area.
The woman — who reportedly boarded the bus at the Pentagon, got sick in the bathroom then got off — was transported via ambulance to a Inova Fairfax Hospital. The county’s medical director also responded to the call and went to the hospital with the patient, according to scanner traffic.
A tipster with knowledge of the emergency response told ARLnow.com that the patient claimed she recently traveled from the West African nation of Sierra Leone. That was confirmed by D.C. health department officials. However, an Associated Press report is now questioning whether she has, in fact, been out of the country.
The tipster also said that four Arlington firefighters were held at the hospital for much of the day due to possible exposure, and are now monitoring themselves for signs illness. That tip could not be immediately confirmed. The AP is reporting that seven Pentagon police officers might have also been exposed and are being monitored.
Arlington medic units and Fairfax hazmat units are on scene at Inova Fairfax Hosptial, according to news helicopter footage.
— Brad Freitas (@NewsChopperBrad) October 17, 2014
As of 10:50 a.m., Arlington County was mobilizing its Emergency Operations Center to deal with the incident, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
Just before noon, the county issued the following press release.
Arlington Responds to Possible Ebola Case
At about 9:10 a.m. today, Pentagon Police officers identified a woman in the Pentagon South Parking Lot, around lanes 17-19, who was ill and vomiting. Arlington County Fire Department (ACFD) was notified and responded immediately with both emergency medical aid and HazMat response team.
During the response, the individual allegedly indicated that she had recently visited western Africa. Out of an abundance of caution, all pedestrian and vehicular traffic was suspended around the South Parking lot, while Arlington County responded to the scene. At 9:53 a.m, the patient was taken to the Virginia Hospital Center; however she did not exit the ambulance. ACFD then transported the patient to Fairfax Inova Hospital.
Arlington Public Health is directing the public health response to this incident. Arlington County has activated its Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and a Joint Information Center (JIC) to manage the incident.
At the Pentagon
Out of an abundance of caution and to allow the investigation to proceed, pedestrian and vehicular traffic around the Pentagon South Parking lot’s lanes 7-23 will remain restricted until further notice. The Corridor 2 entrance to the Pentagon is also closed.
More information will be released when it becomes available.
Arlington firefighters and the hazmat team cleared the scene at the Pentagon around 1:45 p.m.
The bus the woman boarded was later stopped and detained near D.C.’s Capitol Hill neighborhood.
— Bruce Leshan (@BruceLeshan) October 17, 2014
Despite numerous Ebola scares in the United States, there have been fewer than 10 confirmed cases in the country. Today President Obama named an “Ebola czar” to help coordinate the federal response to the outbreak threat.
Stormwater Management Ordinance Approved — The Arlington County Board on Saturday approved a new stormwater management ordinance. The ordinance complies with strict EPA standards intended to help clean up the Chesapeake Bay. It’s expected to raise the county’s costs related to stormwater management. [Arlington County]
Gymnastic Boosters Speak Out About Rising Fee — Youth gymnasts and their parents spoke out at Saturday’s County Board meeting about rising fees for out-of-county gymnasts. Starting July 1, the cost for using county facilities is rising dramatically for members of the Arlington Aerials gymnastics team who do not live in the county. [InsideNova]
VHC Has High C-Section Rate — Virginia Hospital Center has one of the highest C-section rates for low-risk deliveries, according to Consumer Reports. [NBC Washington]
Fmr. Arlington Resident Charged in Drug Scheme — Two former Arlington residents have been sentenced after being convicted of running an illegal pharmaceutical business from their Crystal City apartment. Syed “Farhan” Huda, 39, was sentenced to three years in prison and $3.4 million in restitution. his wife, Deeba Mallick, 37, was sentenced to nine months in prison. [U.S. Department of Justice]
Flickr pool photo by Brian Allen
Police say Roy Anthony Jones, a 30-year-old D.C. resident, raped a 37-year-old female patient in the early morning hours of January 13, 2014, while he was working as a CT Scan Technician.
“The victim was at the hospital as a patient when the incident occurred and reported the crime to police following the attack,” Arlington County Police said in a press release today. “Virginia Hospital Center staff cooperated with detectives throughout the investigation.”
Jones was denied bond and is being held at the Arlington County Detention Facility.
Photo courtesy ACPD
Two cars collided in front of Virginia Hospital Center this morning, and two people involved in the crash were taken inside with injuries.
Just before 11:30 a.m., the two black sedans crashed at the intersection of N. George Mason Drive and 17th Street. According to police on the scene, a black Lincoln collided with a Mitsubishi Lancer as it was trying to turn left out of the hospital.
The Lincoln’s driver was uninjured, while the driver of the Mitsubishi and a passenger in the Lancer were suffering from non-life-threatening injuries.
One lane of northbound George Mason Drive was closed while police investigated the accident and waited for the tow trucks to remove the cars.
Beginning Oct. 5 at 6:00 a.m. and continuing until noon, the emergency exercise will include all the aspects of the Arlington County Fire Department’s response to a real fire, without lights and sirens.
From an Arlington County press release:
A simulated hospital fire will test the Arlington County Fire Department’s emergency response while providing hands-on training to the Office of Emergency Management and Virginia Hospital Center staff. During the exercise, emergency personnel will respond as in a real emergency, but will not use their lights or sirens.
The exercise will be held inside the hospital and will not affect normal hospital services. Theexercise will include elements to add realism to the simulated emergency of a real fire:
- A simulated fire and deployment of smoke in a secured and confined area of the hospital with the evacuation of patients will occur for training purposes
- Participation by ACFD, OEM and Virginia Hospital Center personnel will test response times, collaboration and patient care during this simulation
- More than 10 responding emergency vehicles will be used
- Volunteer role players will simulate injuries sustained from the incident
The full-scale emergency preparedness exercise, which is the culmination of months of planning and coordination across these different disciplines, is part of Arlington County’sEmergency Preparedness Plan and will help ensure that ACFD, OEM and Virginia Hospital Center are prepared for real-life fire emergencies.
PLEASE NOTE: Some of the exercise elements may be seen or heard on Saturday morning from areas surrounding the hospital – especially in the proximity of the Virginia Hospital Center campus. This is only an exercise.
Need evidence that more and more young families are putting down roots in Arlington, beyond the rapid growth in school enrollment? Just look to Virginia Hospital Center.
The hospital, at 1701 N. George Mason Drive, completed a four-year-long renovation of its maternity ward earlier this year, adding beds and capacity to keep up with rising demand. But the number of births at the hospital continues to grow.
In the last five years, the hospital has gone from delivering 3,700 infants in 2008 to a projected 5,000-plus in 2013. In that time, the hospital’s Women & Infant Health Center has added 10 beds, formed a partnership with National Children’s Hospital to expand its Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, and reorganized the Labor and Delivery unit to add additional capacity.
The growth in birth rate “has been pretty substantial for our size,” Adrian Stanton, Virginia Hospital Center’s vice president of public affairs, said. To accommodate the expansion, some administrative offices were moved to the hospital’s Carlin Springs Road campus.
“Years ago, this was [considered to be] a mature market,” Stanton said. But that has changed, and hospital leaders still aren’t sure how much bigger the Arlington baby boom will get.
“There isn’t a desire to move west or south as there had been. There’s more of an appeal to the Arlington area for young families,” he said. “I think we are struggling with the question, how much will Arlington continue to grow? Where is the growth going to be? I’m looking at the schools’ numbers, the planning departments numbers to try to figure it out.”
Stanton said there is still some room to grow for the maternity unit, but any expansion has to be done “in place,” since there are no plans for major construction projects on the horizon. The hospital’s unsolved problem is akin to Arlington’s high schools, which have all completed renovations in the last couple of years but remain overcrowded.
Stanton has identified one possible source of the upward trend in births, noting anecdotally that many families seem to want three children, as opposed to last generation’s average of two and a quarter children per household.
In addition to childbirth, another area of significant growth for Virginia Hospital Center has been joint replacement. The bulk of the joint replacement patients: active baby boomers in their 50s and 60s. Could the growth in joint replacements and childbirths be linked?
Asked whether it was perhaps the “echo boom” generation — the children of post-World War II baby boomers — who were accounting for the growth in births locally, Stanton wasn’t sure. But he did say that the baby boom generation in general has impacted hospital planning.
“As the baby boomers move through the system, they dictate a lot of what happens in society,” he said.
Police say the man, 34-year-old Kareem Jorif, came to the hospital to deliver a message to a mother who had just given birth. The message: the baby’s father couldn’t make it because he was in jail.
Jorif was unable to perform his messenger duty, however, because the group of family members gathered in the mother’s hospital room wouldn’t let him in, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. A verbal altercation ensued. Jorif then allegedly pulled a meat cleaver from his waistband and started chopping at the door.
Eventually, Sternbeck said, Jorif was able to crack the door open and throw the meat cleaver into the room, in the direction of the room’s occupants. Nobody was struck by the knife, but Jorif was later detained by security, arrested by police, and charged with 5 counts of attempted malicious wounding.
There were five people in the room at the time, Sternbeck said. No word on whether the baby was in the room. From the daily crime report:
MALICIOUS WOUNDING, 04/05/13, 1700 block of N. George Mason Drive. At 5:34 pm on April 5, a suspect pulled a meat cleaver from his waistband after a verbal altercation escalated inside Virginia Hospital Center. The suspect struck a room door several times with the knife before throwing the weapon inside the room in the direction of the occupants. Hospital security detained the suspect until arrival of police. Kareem Jorif, 34, of Arlington, VA, was arrested and charged with 5 counts of attempted malicious wounding and carrying a concealed weapon. He was held without bond.
Photo courtesy Arlington County Police Department
President Visits Arlington Bookstore — President Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia stopped by One More Page Books (2200 N. Westmoreland Street) on Saturday afternoon, on a holiday shopping trip that coincided with Small Business Saturday. The independent book store is located in the East Falls Church neighborhood. [Associated Press, Us Weekly]
Yorktown Season Ends With Loss — The Yorktown High School football team’s first loss of the season came on Friday, as the Patriots gave up a 22-point lead to fall to Stone Bridge 69-50 in the Northern Region 5 championship game. Yorktown also lost last year’s regional championship after an undefeated season. [Washington Post, YouTube]
Hospital Receives Large Donation — Virginia Hospital Center has received a $2.2 million gift, which will be used to expand its radiation-oncology services. The donation, from Russell and Joan Hitt, is the largest in the hospital’s 68-year history. [Sun Gazette]
Flickr pool photo by Desiree L.C.
Arlington County Police are investigating the death of a man found on a park bench across from Virginia Hospital Center.
The man was found unresponsive on a bench in the hospital’s “Healing Garden,” at 1625 N. George Mason Drive in the Waycroft-Woodlawn neighborhood, according to scanner traffic. He was pronounced dead on the scene.
Investigators are on the scene, but so far there’s no indication that foul play is suspected.
Photo via Google Maps
The incident happened just before 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 11. The man was found on the ground at the hospital’s Emergency Room entrance, with a gunshot wound to his right foot, according to a police report. He was brought inside and treated by hospital staff.
When police showed up to interview the man, he refused to provide information about what happened. It was at that point that a fingerprint scan revealed that the man was actually a fugitive wanted for a crime in the District of Columbia.
Police arrested 22-year-old Isaiah Green of Capitol Heights, Md. As of last week he was being held without bond and was awaiting extradition.
Neighborhood Thanks Power Crews – A few special guests stopped by the Waycroft-Woodlawn Fourth of July picnic yesterday (see photo, above). The neighborhood invited two hard-working power crews from Ontario, Canada to have a quick lunch with them. “The community clapped and cheered to say thanks,” writes resident Jim Pebley. “Was a nice moment after a long hot couple days.”
Storm Damage at Arlington National Cemetery — Arlington National Cemetery is reporting some significant damage in the wake of last Friday’s storms. The cemetery lost three of its oldest trees, which are all between 225 and 240 years old. In all, 8 large trees were lost and 17 were damaged to the point where they need to be removed. Falling trees also damaged some headstones. The cemetery says the damage is similar to that suffered during Hurricane Irene. The cemetery “continues to assess the extent of the damage and has started on the restoration.” [Arlington National Cemetery]
Hospital Visits Up Last Weekend — The number of patient visits to Virginia Hospital Center were about 30 percent higher than normal last weekend, largely due to heat-related symptoms, especially among the elderly, following Friday’s storms. No heat-related deaths have been reported in Arlington since the storms. [Arlington Mercury]
Tree Destroyed House While Family Was Inside — An Arlington couple and their two young girls were, amazingly, unharmed after a large oak tree came crashing through their house during Friday’s storm. The family was at home at the time. The parents were watching a movie in the basement; they came upstairs to find the girls still sleeping in their beds. [WUSA 9]
Blackwell Re-Elected as RNC Rep — Arlington resident Morton Blackwell — founder of the Courthouse-based Leadership Institute, a conservative political training organization — has been re-elected as Virginia representative to the Republican National Committee. [Sun Gazette]
Photo courtesy Jim Pebley
A cement truck backed into a utility pole at the intersection of 16th Street N. and N. Buchanan Street this morning, knocking down power lines and forcing the extended closure of 16th Street.
The incident happened around 9:15 a.m., in the Waycroft-Woodlawn neighborhood. We’re told the cement truck was attempting to back up when it hit the pole, snapping it in two.
16th Street N. is expected to be closed for much of the day as crews from Dominion work to replace the broken poles and downed lines. The closure is several blocks from Virginia Hospital Center.
About 300 homes are expected to be without power until at least late afternoon, while repairs are underway.
Police say 48-year-old Alexandria resident Albert Murray, an employee at the hopsital’s cafeteria, tried to rob his own employer over the weekend.
According to police, Murray took a taxi to the hospital around 4:00 p.m. on Saturday. While the cab waited outside, Murray allegedly went to the food service office in the cafeteria, confronted his manager with a knife, and demanded the combination to the safe. When the manager insisted she didn’t know the combination, police say, Murray bound her hands and feet with electrical cord, placed the safe on an office chair, and wheeled the chair out to the waiting cab.
The taxi driver became suspicious as Murray was loading the safe into the trunk and jumped out of the cab, according to police. At that point, hospital security ran outside. Murray is then accused of getting into the driver’s seat of the cab and trying to drive away. The cab driver, however, somehow managed to jump into the passenger seat of the hybrid taxi and kill the ignition with the press of a button.
Police say Murray then fled on foot. Officers quickly located him and, after a brief foot pursuit, Murray was taken into custody without further incident, according to police.
Murray was charged with abduction, grand larceny, two counts of robbery, and possession of PCP, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
DCA Workers Injured By Lightning Strike — Two workers at Reagan National Airport were injured after lightning struck near American Airlines Gate 32. The injuries were not considered life-threatening. [WUSA 9]
Recounting 9/11 at Va. Hospital Center — The injured came flooding into Virginia Hospital Center by private car, military vehicle and ambulance on Sept. 11, 2001, employees recalled at a recent commemoration. Now the hospital says they’re better prepared to handle all sorts of emergencies. [MyFoxDC, WTOP]
Rare, Unseen Pentagon Historical Photos — Life Magazine has release a set of previously-unpublished photos of the Pentagon while it was still under construction in the early 1940s. [Life.com]
More on Tuesday’s Candidates Debate — In case you missed Tuesday’s Arlington County Civic Federation-sponsored debate, the Sun Gazette has a summary of the 32nd District state Senate debate between incumbent Sen. Janet Howell and Republican challenger Patrick Forrest, plus the three-way debate between Del. Bob Brink and his independent and Independent Green challengers for the 48th District House of Delegates seat.
GOP Candidate Prepared for Everything — Trying to prove that his long-shot campaign is in it to win it, Republican 30th District state Senate candidate Tim McGhee told attendees at Tuesday night’s debate that he’s prepared for pretty much anything and won’t be making any major policy shifts. “This is a built to last campaign that, whether its hurricanes, earthquakes, UN votes, stock market swings, whatever may be happening, nothing has to change between now and election day,” he said.