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In Detroit, doctors talk Ebola treatment protocol

Beaumont Health System

Doctors, trauma specialists, and some EMS workers are meeting in Detroit today for the annual Detroit Trauma Symposium. 

It’s run by the Detroit Medical Center and Wayne State University.

Among other things, they're talking about lessons learned from how other states are handling Ebola, and how they’ve prepared to treat it in Michigan.

Dr. Keith Kaye is The Detroit Medical Center's chief of infection control, and he says many hospitals in Michigan have worked with the state health department about how doctors and nurses should safely treat and isolate an Ebola patient.

Those hospitals include Henry Ford, DMC, and the University of Michigan.

"I think there is a capability for any of those hospitals to provide care safely for the patient,” he says, while noting that in this state, there’s no national isolation headquarters like Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.  

Then there’s the tricky, but unlikely scenario: How does a hospital handle the unlikely scenario of getting an Ebola patient if they're already bombarded with flu patients? 

“But the question is, who does it pull out of their normal roles? And what happens to the other patients?” Kaye asks.

Meanwhile, he says Michigan should not impose a quarantine on any health workers who return from treating Ebola patients, as long as they're not showing any symptoms themselves.

"We are going to live with an increasing threat of Ebola from travelers for the foreseeable future. So we're actually hurting ourselves by discouraging health workers from going to West Africa, because, you know, how they might be treated upon return."

Kate Wells is a Peabody Award-winning journalist currently covering public health. She was a 2023 Pulitzer Prize finalist for her abortion coverage.
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