How the Ebola crisis unfolded in Madrid

NEW YORK (CNN) – As Teresa Romero, the first person to be infected with Ebola outside of West Africa, fights for her life, health care workers and unions in Spain complain of a long list of failings.

September was a busy month for Teresa Romero, she had been caring for missionary Manuel Garcia Viejo.  But a day after he passed, she decided to take some holiday staying here at her apartment.

Three days later on the 29th of September she begins to feel ill and neighbors see a change in her.  She waits a day and goes to her local doctor.  Here, she tells her doctor that she’s been in contact with an Ebola patient.

They take her temperature, but she’s given the all clear and told that perhaps it’s a minor cold, after all it’s the beginning of the flu season.

Two-days later, still feeling ill, she calls the hospital where worked and cared for the missionaries, and informs them that she is still unwell.  They send her elsewhere, where she’s once again assessed and once again, she’s sent home.

Elena Moral said, “According to protocol, someone is considered infected when the body temperature of the professional is higher is 38.6 degrees centigrade. We believe it was a big mistake to send her to a local hospital. We think she should have gone straight to Carlos III hospital.”

Four days later, as she begins to feel worse, she calls the emergency services and an ambulance picks her up and drops her off at Alcorcon Hospital, in southern Madrid.

That same ambulance drops her off here then goes on to transport seven other patients but it is only twelve hours later, once they have confirmed that she has Ebola, that they are told to disinfect the ambulance.”

Inside the hospital she is tested, but the response is shockingly slow.  Errors of protocol have only occurred in that doctors and workers treating the patient were not informed quickly enough if the suspected case was positive. We are talking about 2-hours to confirm and the second problem was the time it took when we asked for patient’s transfer to Carlos III. There was more than an 8 hour delay.

Healthcare workers and unions tell me this is a stunning series of lapses. Exacerbated by poor training, substandard equipment and relaxed procedures only to be accentuated even further by austerity cuts. They are clearly leaving their mark.

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