Phoebe System looks carefully for Ebola threat

Phoebe System looks carefully for Ebola threat
Dr. Kitchens
Dr. Kitchens
Victor Garcia
Victor Garcia

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Phoebe Putney Health System officials say workers at Phoebe Sumter in Americus took the right steps when a man showed up suffering from symptoms similar to Ebola. They determined he was not at risk for the virus. The patient went to the hospital Thursday with flu-like symptoms.

Health care workers questioned him about his travel history and he said during a business meeting in California.  He sat next to someone who recently traveled to Africa.

"They identified this person of could be a person at risk. They immediately took the person to an isolated section of the hospital. This had already been thought through. They already had a process in place and it simply could not have be done any better," said Steven Kitchen, Chief Medical Officer.

The patient was never actually tested for Ebola. The hospital checked with the Centers for Disease Control and the State Department of Health and were told he was not at risk for the virus.

Phoebe Putney is the largest hospital in south Georgia and our area's largest employer. Officials say they're constantly checking the CDC website for updates to make sure they are following the latest ebola protocols. Phoebe Putney Health System says they are have a process in place, based on CDC guidelines, should the Ebola virus show up here.

Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Steven Kitchen says Phoebe is committed to preventing any panic and confusion about the virus. "What is understood at this point is early detection is the biggest key in preventing transmission," said Steven Kitchen. "It is a disease that has been confined to West Africa."

Hospital officials says chances are low that Ebola will come to Phoebe. "The pool of people that has traveled from West Africa that's a pretty small pool," said Kitchen.

Phoebe says a patient will need to have multiple risk factors to be tested for Ebola.

"Flu like symptoms, traveled to west Africa and came in contact with anyone with the virus. We would recommend they have a medical evaluation performed and transports to the emergency room and put in an isolation room," said Steven Kitchen.

And staff at all Phoebe campuses are aware of the new Ebola protocol. And patient contact from our staff will be in the personal protective equipment, a full body suit and hood," said Kitchen.

"Standard precaution and were re-emphasizing education on some the specialized protective equipment," said Victor Garcia, VP, Emergency Services.

Phoebe will adjust staff accordingly so they won't become strained if they do have a potential Ebola patient at the hospital.

Patients who come to Phoebe with flu like symptoms but have not traveled to west Africa, will go through the appropriate medical evaluation based on the symptoms they present.

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