On Friday, the hospital refused to admit a patient who was thought to possibly be infected with the Ebola virus, despite the fact that she was initially transported there. Instead, the Arlington paramedic crew was directed to take the patient to Inova Fairfax Hospital, where she was treated.
It was later learned that the woman did not have Ebola.
VHC says it took proper action on Friday, because construction was taking place in the hospital’s biocontainment area. That construction is reportedly now complete, and the hospital says it is ready to treat a suspected Ebola patient.
From Virginia Hospital Center:
When the Ebola crisis initially unfolded and early guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) were released, Virginia Hospital Center put in place processes and protocols that allowed us to safely screen suspected Ebola patients. As suspected Ebola cases surfaced at other hospitals and the CDC continued to change their recommended care guidelines, Virginia Hospital Center believed it was imperative that we have dedicated connecting rooms in the biocontainment area that would allow for the use of an anteroom by staff to safely enter and leave a patient’s room and safely remove and decontaminate Personal Protective Equipment. We needed to construct this anteroom to help mitigate the risk of transmission to patients, staff and our community.
On Friday, October 17, Arlington EMS alerted us that a patient with suspected Ebola symptoms and a reported, recent travel history to a CDC high-risk area was in transport to Virginia Hospital Center. Given the clinical symptoms, travel history, possible need for admission and the Hospital’s ongoing construction in this biocontainment area, we immediately contacted Inova Fairfax Hospital to inquire about their readiness to accept a suspected Ebola patient. Concurrent with their agreement to accept the patient, Arlington EMS arrived. The patient was then transported to Inova Fairfax Hospital. The safety and well-being of the patient, as well as all of our patients, staff and community, was paramount in our decision to transport the patient to a hospital equipped to care for the patient at that time. The construction in our biocontainment area is now complete and the Hospital is prepared to isolate, test and treat a suspected Ebola patient.