Four Chicago Hospitals Named Ebola Treatment Centers
While the threat of an Ebola outbreak in the United States appears to have lessened in recent weeks, the Centers for Disease Control continues to add U.S. hospitals to its list of treatment centers.
Four highly rated Chicago hospitals recently were named as frontline Ebola treatment centers by the CDC. Lurie Children’s, Northwestern Memorial, Rush University and the University of Chicago medical facilities will treat all Chicago-area patients infected with the virus.
Treatment centers, of which there are 35 across the nation, are chosen based on a hospital’s ability to control infection, capacity, physical infrastructure, staffing resources, personal protective equipment supplies, waste management processes, worker safety training, environmental services, and laboratory set up, according to the CDC.
Staff at the four Chicago hospitals have participated in intense training with the Chicago Department of Public Health and the CDC to prepare should a future outbreak occur. Chicago and New York City are the only two cities in the nation with four treatment centers.
“The fact that we have four treatment centers — including a children’s hospital — reflects our city’s hard work and ongoing leadership,” says Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
Preparations at Rush
During the heart of the U.S. outbreak in October, Rush University Medical Center formed an Ebola planning committee to develop Ebola-specific treatment protocols. Rush staff also built a three-bed containment suite within the hospital's intensive care unit.
“Rush is known for its comprehensive training and preparedness as well as its capabilities to care for complex illnesses in very sick patients,” says Michael Dandorph, Rush’s executive vice president and chief operating officer. “The design of Rush’s new hospital and the training of our staff allow us to care safely for patients with critical infectious diseases, such as Ebola, while also keeping our staff, students and other patients and visitors safe from infection.”
Ebola continues in Africa
According to the World Health Organization, the Ebola outbreak remains intense in several west-African nations where over 7,000 people have died as a result of the virus. Despite no U.S. cases reported in several weeks, the CDC continues its domestic preparedness procedures.
“As long as Ebola is spreading in West Africa, we must prepare for the possibility of additional cases in the United States," CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden says.