By Kit Daniels
Kansas City, Mo., hospital workers are being threatened with termination if they do not refer to suspected Ebola cases as “viral illnesses” instead of Ebola.
Dr. James Lawrenzi, a Kansas City-area family physician, said hospital workers are being told not to use the word ‘Ebola’ if they treat patients who may have the disease.
“They’re threatening people ‘you’ll be fired, you’ll be let go if you use the word Ebola,’” Dr. Lawrenzi said, noting that the hospital he works at in particular, Cass Medical Research Center, has not had any suspected Ebola cases.
A doctor at Truman Lakewood Medical Center told Dr. Lawrenzi that a patient arrived at his hospital a few weeks ago with a high fever and was bleeding out all of his orifices after returning from West Africa, but the next day the patient disappeared from Truman Lakewood.
The hospital told its workers the patient, who wouldn’t have been able to leave the hospital on his own given his condition, had a case of “malaria,” which wouldn’t explain the patient’s orifice bleeding.
Similarly, another possible Ebola patient was admitted to Research Medical Center in Kansas City but also quickly disappeared, and management at that hospital claimed the patient had “typhoid.”
“These patients are disappearing, they’re doing something with the patients and God knows where they’re going,” Dr. Lawrenzi said.
Dr. Lawrenzi suspected that hospital managers, in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, are trying to prevent panic by labeling suspected cases as other illnesses, even if the symptoms do not match the declared disease.
Emergency dispatchers in New York were likewise told to use codewords to refer to suspected Ebola cases over the radio and were not allowed to reveal information on any of the cases handled by first responders.
“At no point shall a dispatcher transmit over the radio any message containing the word ‘Ebola’ or related terminology,” a New York Fire Department bulletin stated.
Instead dispatchers were told to use the code letters “F/T,” for Fever/Travel, to indicate that a 911 caller had a fever and a history of travel to West Africa.
And Dr. Lawrenzi’s revelation that patients are “disappearing” corresponds to an earlier statement by Border Patrol veteran Zach Taylor that illegal immigrants suspected of carrying Ebola are being secretly detained after capture near the border.
“Those people are disappearing, we don’t know what they have, where they’re going, where [the CDC’s] taking them – surely they’re being quarantined somewhere we just don’t know where and even the agents don’t know what the diagnosis is of these illnesses,” Taylor said.