UPDATE 11/22/14 7:30 p.m.:
Mercy Patient Cleared for Ebola, Discharged from Hospital
The female patient who was being monitored at an offsite facility near Mercy Hospital Jefferson has been confirmed to not have Ebola and has been discharged. An initial test for Ebola on November 20 was negative. Following guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the patient continued to be isolated and monitored for an additional 72 hours from the time of her initial symptoms. The patient’s improved condition confirms she does not have Ebola and she has returned home, where she will be monitored by the Jefferson County Health Department. Privacy rules prevent Mercy from providing additional information about her condition or diagnosis.
“This was the best possible outcome for this patient, and we are happy that she is home and on her way back to good health,” said Eric Ammons, president of Mercy Hospital Jefferson. “I couldn’t be more pleased and proud of the response of the Mercy team, who carried out our plans for accepting and caring for a patient with possible Ebola flawlessly. Our thanks also go out to the county and state health departments and CDC, whose support and guidance have been invaluable.”
UPDATE: Ebola Test Results Negative for Mercy Patient
Mercy has received the initial test results for a female patient who recently returned from West Africa and is being monitored at Mercy Hospital Jefferson for possible Ebola. The test results from the State Public Health Laboratory are negative for the Ebola virus. As a precautionary measure, the patient will continue to be kept in isolation and monitored for a minimum of 72 hours following the onset of symptoms, in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. If the patient remains symptomatic, she will be retested Saturday evening. Mercy is also testing for other possible diseases or illnesses, including malaria and flu.
Eric Ammons, president of Mercy Hospital Jefferson, commended the actions of the Mercy team who have been caring for the patient. “The local team, supported by others across Mercy, was fully prepared to respond to the patient’s needs, assuring appropriate care and comfort. I could not be more proud of the professionalism and dedication the entire Mercy staff has shown in managing this situation. Their priority has been the health and safety of this patient as well as other patients, our co-workers and the community at large. We remain committed to the patient’s full recovery.”
Crystal City, Mo. – A patient who recently returned from West Africa continues to be monitored in an isolation unit near Mercy Hospital Jefferson. Mercy is working in collaboration with the Jefferson County Health Department, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in testing the patient for possible causes of illness, including Ebola.
According to the Jefferson County Department of Health, the patient is considered at low risk for Ebola but has been monitored by the health department since returning from Liberia on November 13. The health department confirmed that the patient is a female nurse who was in Africa as a consultant but never encountered an Ebola patient. The patient developed a low-grade fever and headache in recent days and, in consultation with the health department, was directed to Mercy Jefferson for evaluation. She arrived early Thursday morning and was admitted immediately to an isolation unit in a freestanding surgery center near the hospital campus. The patient never entered the main hospital building, including the emergency department, and has had zero contact with other patients.
“Our physicians and staff were fully prepared for the patient’s arrival and confident in their ability to provide appropriate care, based on the extensive training and focus we’ve put on preparing for the assessment of possible Ebola cases,” said Eric Ammons, president of Mercy Hospital Jefferson. “They’ve demonstrated the highest standards of professionalism, competence, control and compassion.”
A team of Mercy staff members from both Jefferson County and St. Louis, led by Mercy Clinic physician Ben Albano, MD, are providing around-the-clock monitoring and are not treating any other patients. The team members are among hundreds across Mercy who volunteered for the highest levels of training to care for patients being tested or treated for Ebola. While caring for the patient, they are fully gowned in personal protective equipment that offers protection exceeding the standards set by the CDC.
Jad Khoury, MD, a Mercy Clinic physician and Division Chief, Infectious Diseases, at Mercy Hospital St. Louis, is among the physicians overseeing the patient’s medical care. According to Dr. Khoury, blood samples have been collected and sent to the state public health laboratory in Jefferson City for Ebola testing. Results are expected late this evening or early Friday. In addition, the patient is being tested for other possible diseases or illnesses, including malaria and flu.
“She is comfortable and not in pain,” Dr. Khoury stated. “While the risk of an Ebola confirmation is very low, we hope to rule it out so that we can confirm and treat her appropriately.”
In addition to managing the arrival and care of this patient in an exceptional manner, Mercy has made it a priority to communicate with other patients and staff and to assure them of the importance Mercy places on their health and safety, said Donn Sorensen, Mercy regional president. “I couldn’t be more proud of the response of the Mercy team, and their dedication to the well being of this patient and our community as a whole. This is why we prepare, and their readiness has been exceptional.”