"To concentrate our resources:" State health officials set up Ebola transfer plan

MADISON (WITI) — A nurse who contracted Ebola after being infected by her dying patient in Dallas is now virus-free. Amber Vinson was released from the hospital on Tuesday, October 28th. She was taken to Emory Hospital in Atlanta from Dallas to undergo treatment. Vinson says she's thankful for the expertise of the doctors and nurses who cared for her the last two weeks. Vinson is the second nurse to be released from treatment. Nina Pham returned home last week. The news of the second nurse's release comes on the same day Wisconsin health officials announced they have set up a plan for moving Ebola patients in the state to one of four hospitals -- should Wisconsin be forced to deal with an individual diagnosed with Ebola.

The chances we'll see an Ebola case in Wisconsin are slim, but that doesn't eliminate the need to have a plan in place should it be needed.

Wisconsin's Department of Health Services says if there were an Ebola case in Wisconsin, the agency would work with doctors to move the patient(s) to the University of Wisconsin Hospital in Madison or Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee. Children diagnosed with Ebola would go to the American Family Children's Hospital in Madison or the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin in Milwaukee.

Currently, there is just one Ebola patient being treated in the United States. Dr. Craig Spencer is in a New York hospital in serious but stable condition.

If Wisconsin would be called upon to care for an Ebola patient here in the state, there is now a plan of action.

"Designating a few hospitals, those that would take care of a patient with the Ebola virus disease is an excellent plan. I think this takes our level of comfort a step further in that we would be about to concentrate our resources, prepare better, even better than we are now," Dr. Sid Singh, the associate medical officer for Froedtert Hospital and the Medical College of Wisconsin said.

According to the Department of Health Services, Froedtert Hospital and the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin were asked to volunteer to care for a potential Ebola patient in Wisconsin due to their specialized care and demonstrated preparedness that will "increase the odds of recovery for patients diagnosed."

"We were very happy to step up and volunteer and fulfill our responsibility to the state and to our community," Dr. Singh said.

Dr. Singh says Froedert Hospital and the Medical College of Wisconsin have been preparing for the rare possibility they would see a patient with Ebola for the past two months. He says they have worked to train their staff, and says there are isolation rooms and the necessary equipment available -- including the protective gear for the medical teams.

Dr. Singh says staff at Froedtert has learned from the mistakes made at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, where nurses Nina Pham and Amber Vinson contracted Ebola after caring for Thomas Eric Duncan, who died earlier this month. He was the first to be diagnosed with Ebola in the United States.

"The key to learning is preparation in extreme detail and then practice and drilling," Dr. Singh said.

State Health Officer Karen McKeown says all four facilities named in the state's Ebola plan have plans in place to safely treat Ebola patients and prevent the disease's spread.

It is important to note: no one in Wisconsin has been diagnosed with Ebola.

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