4th February 2015

There are days when I wish that having to read and watch the news was not part of my job description.

This morning while I drank my coffee, I caught up on the world news.  I was not quite prepared for what greeted me.

16 new cases of Ebola in London.

16!

And because the Ebola patients from early January still occupied 8 of the 12 beds, the London Royal Free hospital could only accommodate 4 of the new patients.  The other 12 people had to be sent to three other hospitals (Royal Liverpool, Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield and to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle upon Tyne) via police convoy.  Madness!

I get that they don’t have the bed space but three other hospitals is just not smart for several reasons: One, they run the additional risk of infecting the drivers and medical personal on the ambulances; Two, what if they have an accident on route? Three, there is an additional risk of people at each of the hospitals being infected.  Why they don’t just set up a special Army field hospital to cater to Ebola victims is beyond me.  Clearly they don’t have a strategist giving advice to the PM.

Maybe I should submit my CV?

What’s worse the media gave live coverage of the police escorting the four ambulances travelling from London to Newcastle resulting in several nurses and other medical staff calling in ‘sick’.  Sometimes I wish the media thought more about the consequences of their actions. Don’t get me wrong I am all for freedom of the press and good investigative journalism, you just don’t see much of it these days.  It’s all sensationalised and devoid of facts.

This is definitely going to impact my scenarios.

14th January 2015

Ethan called me this evening.  I nearly fell off my chair. He hardly ever calls, unless of course he wants something.  Which of course he did.  Money.  He wanted to borrow some money so he could pay the fine from NYE. £2000.  I don’t have that kind of cash lying around.  There is no way he would ring mum and dad for that much money.  He would be in so much trouble.  And besides ‘borrow’ in Ethan’s world is a very loose term.

He was telling me that the big news of the morning in London is that the UK Prime Minister is getting a complete roasting in the media over two nurses testing positive for Ebola.  They had been on duty at the local A&E where three of the 8 Ebola patients were admitted before being transferred to Royal Free Hospital.  (Yay! My brother is finally paying attention).

The PM is now being accused of false promises.  Ethan, then read out bits and pieces from one of the daily rags; “it is likely that contamination may have occurred when the nurses removed their PPE” and one of the nurses is quoted as saying “there were so many false alarms in December, when we put the family in the ambulance, we took off our PPE and went back to our shift.”

I know he’s OK and he’s far enough away from the incidents, still it doesn’t make it any easier.  I might talk to Mum and Dad about sending him a plane ticket and getting him to come home for an extended holiday.  Until this all dies down.

Not long after our phone conversation I got a text from Ethan;

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12th January 2015

Richard, the IT guy, was back at work today.  I caught up with him this afternoon to run through the research I’m doing on the ebola crisis and how I want to display the data when I present to the leadership team.  He was very helpful with ideas and also suggested I use the design team for the graphics.

He had so many questions about the crisis – what had been happening?  How many were dead?  Had it spread further than West Africa?  He didn’t even know about the man dying yesterday, despite it being front page news.

Has he been living under a rock??

After I gave him an update, we had an interesting discussion about the aftermath of the death of the US aid worker and the wave of volunteer cancellations.  In order to stem flow and assure doctors, nurses and aid workers, both the EU and the US have taken action: the US by committing 6 military planes and crew to evacuate any US volunteers; and the EU confirming via a formal statement, that 4 more aircraft will be dedicated to evacuate EU and Australian volunteers.

It will be interesting to see if that makes a difference to the number of volunteers.

11pm I’ve just seen this via my news feed;

The UK Prime Minister made a public statement today: “in the wake of the two Ebola patients admitted to Newcastle Royal Victoria Infirmary in December and the subsequent healthcare worker infections, we have learnt hard lessons.  We want to assure the public that new protocols have been put in place at Royal Free Hospital and we are carefully monitoring all possible contacts for the eight new London cases.”

7th January 2015

8 new cases of Ebola have been diagnosed in the UK.

And when I say UK, I mean LONDON!

I bet the London Royal Free Hospital is grateful they just finished the refurbishment of the Infectious Disease ward.  Imagine if they still only had 2 high security isolation beds?  Where would they have put the other 6 cases?  The new ward now has 12 isolation beds.  What happens if they have another 8 cases?  Where would they send them?  Fingers crossed these are the only ones.

I need to ring Ethan, catch him before he goes to work, and get him to take the Ebola crisis seriously.  I know he doesn’t believe it’s an issue, but surely he can see now, that I’m not being an over cautious, worry-wort.

Ha, we are so different my brother and I.  He is so laid back he’s almost horizontal, I worry about E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G.  Trouble seems to follow him everywhere, I on the other hand…he would call me, and often does, a goodie two shoes.  He cruised through university with C’s even though he’s extremely bright.  Brighter than me.  I’m the straight A student.  He’s spontaneous, don’t ever try to lock him into plans, especially if they involve all family functions.  Me, I have to have everything organised well in advance.  Despite all of this (and not even because he’s my brother and I have to), he’s hard not to love.

Thankfully he is not in any immediate danger of being infected, living well away – in Turnham Green – from the recent cases in Southwark.  Reports say they’re all travellers returning from visiting friends and family in West Africa.  Most live in Southwark.  Those poor families.  It must be horrible.

I guess that is a major factor in the spread of viruses these days.  International travel.  It is so much more accessible now than it ever was when mum and dad were younger.  Back then flying overseas was for the wealthy and famous.  Now a spare $1,000 will get you a long way.

I really hope Juliet is OK over there. Not long now and she will be home.  It must be terrible, dealing with all that death.  I can’t even begin to imagine.