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Hospitals should explain Ebola procedures

As I read The Baltimore Sun's coverage of how our local medical institutions are preparing for Ebola ("Md. caregivers seek more training, protection after Ebola spreads to 2 Texas nurses," Oct. 15), I was left feeling that we, the public, have the right to know more about the specific protocols that each hospital has in place.

Thus, when Dr. John Cmar of Sinai commented that staff must be precise when putting on and taking off equipment, it is not clear what precise steps he is going to require. Having trained in sterile technique myself, I know that while it is easy to take off gloves in a sterile manner, it is quite a different matter to take off material with many folds and crevices in a sterile manner. It would be much better to decontaminate the protective gear before it is removed by spraying with disinfectants first. That is what they are already doing in Africa, as can be seen in many file photos of their procedures.

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It is true that rigorous decontamination would require full protective coverage of the health care worker, though not necessarily the full hazmat gear that Dr. Cmar thinks would lead to more errors in patient care. At some point, however, the risks of errors in patient care may have to be balanced against the risks of a full blown epidemic. Decisions that our hospitals make now could eventually affect us all.

Christine L. Miller, Baltimore

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