Saturday, October 4, 2014

NBC and Dr. Snyderman Went Too Far in Pursuit of Ratings

Good Day World!

Rule #1: you don’t mess around with deadly viruses.

I wish someone would have told that to Chief Medical Editor and Correspondent Dr. Nancy Snyderman for NBC news. But no…the show literally had to go on.

Ratings are that important to NBC and the good doctor.

For years now weather forecasters have been reporting from the hearts of torrential downpours, hurricanes, and other bad conditions to get viewers attention.

But those efforts at first-hand reporting are usually only a hazard to the reporter and their crew. NBC and Dr. Snyderman have trumped that by being in the middle of a disease outbreak – Ebola – to report it on location.

I don’t think the audience learned anything more with her and her crew there than they could have gotten at a safer distance. Like America, for example.


A freelance NBC News cameraman was diagnosed in Liberia with the Ebola virus. Snyderman and the rest of the crew are under observation. I have to wonder if it was worth it to gain ratings? Questions abound:

How did someone infected with Ebola ever get into the United States in the first place?

Health officials had predicted it, and even planned for it. But now that a patient has been diagnosed with Ebola on U.S. soil, and wasn’t brought here in a special jet with a sealed isolation pod, Americans are clamoring for answers.


The case of the Dallas hospital that initially sent home a man sickened with Ebola highlights an urgent need for better training — not only for the nurses who are the front-line defense against stopping the spread of any disease, but for all health care personnel, some experts say.

It was not necessarily human error (say what?) that caused the hospital staff to mistakenly send home Liberian national Thomas Eric Duncan, the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital claimed.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has repeatedly said that U.S. hospitals are prepared to handle such patients. It sure doesn’t appear that way.

A survey by National Nurses United of some 400 nurses in more than 200 hospitals in 25 states found that more than half (60 percent) said their hospital is not prepared to handle patients with Ebola, and more than 80 percent said their hospital has not communicated to them any policy regarding potential admission of patients infected by Ebola.

Another 30 percent said their hospital has insufficient supplies of eye protection and fluid-resistant gowns. According to this story  U.S. nurses say they are unprepared to handle Ebola patients


The hospital says it has updated software that appears to have made doctors miss a nurse's note flagging that Duncan came from Liberia.

Really? Something that dumb? Why leave a note for someone to see at some unknown time when something this important was discovered? Liberia…the very mention of this country should have rang alarm bells.

That nurse should have put an immediate hold on the man the minute she discovered where he was from. But instead, the nurse makes a note on the computer and calls it a day; then goes home without sharing the blockbuster news with administration or other staff.


According to news reports officials in Liberia give everyone a questionnaire, asking about contact with possible Ebola patients.Liberian officials now say Thomas Eric Duncan may have lied when he filled out his form and said he didn’t come in contact.

As long as a disease is circulating anywhere, the potential is for it to spread everywhere. Health officials say it over and over again — any disease is just a flight away from anywhere else.

Experts at the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention know that well.

Now, if only NBC news could have understood that! Stay tuned…there will be more to this story.

Time for me to walk on down the road…

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