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UPDATE: Protecting medical workers during the Ebola scare

The word Ebola seems to be center-stage in a number of recent news reports. In fact, our previous post discussed worker-safety in the medical field in relation to the "Ebola scare." Since that post was published, the word scare turned into reality for two nurses who treated the first man diagnosed with the virus in the United States. 

It was no surprise that following the spread of the illness to the two nurses, the hospital has come under scrutiny for how the entire situation was handled. The hospital has been accused of failing to adequately train their employees and to put necessary precautions in place. On Monday, Oct. 20, a group of nurses from the hospital spoke out about the situation and showed their support for the hospital where they work. 

"We are experts in our field, and we don't want to be judged by this one incident," said a nurse who works in the emergency department. Then, she relayed the very real fact that "this could happen to any hospital." 

The truth is that she is right; Ebola is simply an illness that we have been fortunate not to have to deal with in the U.S. Many hospitals across the nation are probably taking a second look at the procedures that they have in place to handle this virus. 

Even though this hospital may have made unintentional errors, these nurses have still suffered a work-related illness. This illness has made them unable to work. Under New York workers' compensation law, an injured worker does not have to prove fault on the part of the employer nor is the eligible amount decreased by the worker's own carelessness. The exception is if the worker's injury was due to drug or alcohol abuse or an intentional action to harm themselves or another.

Source:, "Texas Health Presbyterian Nurses Speak Out for 1st Time: "This Could Happen To Any Hospital," Oct. 20, 2014

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