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Lombardozzi has SRHS thinking Ebola

By Jim Fair, Editor
Published on Thursday, October 16, 2014

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Dr. Christopher Lombardozzi
SRHS Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of Quality
 

Dr. Christopher Lombardozzi

SRHS Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of Quality

 

• Greenville Hospital System protocols

It didn’t take the World Health Organization calling the Ebola outbreak “the most severe, acute health emergency seen in modern times” for Dr. Christopher Lombardozzi of Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System (SRHS) to think Ebola.

Lombardozzi said staff at Spartanburg Regional Hospital and Pelham Medical Center has routinely been briefed on Ebola. “We started preparing well before anyone in the United States contracted it,” he said. “We started meeting in August about what may or may not happen.

“We are well equipped to handle a patient exhibiting symptoms (of Ebola). We have a firm plan to handle it. It’s a bad bug . . . but we have excellent facilities and staff.”

Lombardozzi is vice president and chief medical officer of quality for SRHS. He serves as medical director of Emergency Medicine at Spartanburg Medical Center and Pelham Medical Center.

“We’ve educated staff at the front doors how to handle patients of suspected cases,” Lombardozzi said. He described “front doors” as any routine public entry – lobby, emergency room and deliveries – into the hospital.

The symptoms of Ebola are similar to flu. “One advantage, if you can call it that, is that Ebola doesn’t seem to have a lot of respiratory ailments,” Lombordozzi said.

“We identify the patients and then have a plan,” Lombardozzi said. “We will place them in an isolation room and our staff will have protective gear impervious to fluids.”

Lombardozzi said he wanted to calm the Upstate as a wave of fear snakes it way across the country after two Texas Health Presbyterian nurses contracted the disease while treating a Liberian national, who said he had recently been in West Africa, died from the disease.

“We feel that it’s important to be proactive,” Lombardozzi said of communicating with staff and the public what SRHS is doing. “While it’s one case in the United States and the likelihood anyone else get it is extremely small, tension around the country is extremely high. I think it’s far to say the anxiety level has increased in the past few days.”

A posting on the SRHS web site described the measures taken to protect its staff. “Our staff will follow the designated infectious disease plan and procedures for outbreaks such as Ebola and be required to wear personal protective equipment at all times, which will isolate them from contamination. Personal protective equipment includes gloves, fluid resistant gowns, leg coverings, disposable shoe covers, face and eye protection such as masks, goggles and face shields, the post concluded.

Just Thursday, the Ohio Department of Health reported that in northeast Ohio one person has been quarantined and six others have quarantined and are monitoring themselves for Ebola, after coming into contact or being in the vicinity of an Ebola-stricken Texas nurse.

Several Texas and Ohio schools are closed as a precaution against exposing faculty and students. And a Yale University doctoral student, who recently returned to Connecticut from Liberia, has a fever and is in isolation at Yale-New Haven Hospital. The student is being tested for Ebola.

Pelham and Spartanburg Regional have isolation and decontamination rooms but doctor’s offices and other healthcare services outside of SRHS hospitals do not, Lombardozzi said. The two nurses being treated for Ebola have been moved to specialized units.

“We have regular meetings through DHEC and Regional,” Lombardozzi said. “We educate the staff what to look for and questions to ask – have you traveled outside the United States in the last 30 days and have you been to Africa? “

Doctor’s offices and other healthcare facilities are also briefed, Lombardozzi said.

“We do our best to disseminate material to staff, EMS and doctor’s offices,” Lombardozzi said.

 

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