Ambulance crews train to move Ebola patients - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Ambulance crews train to move Ebola patients

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IOWA CITY (KWWL) - If there's an Ebola patient that needs to be treated here in Iowa, they'll go to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. As of this week it's the state's Ebola Treatment Center.

Ambulance crews have to learn how to get those patients to the hospital safely.

Amber Herboldsheimer is a part of Area Ambulance Service's Special Response Unit. The company is one of three in the state who have agreed to transport Ebola patients.

"We really wanted to be a part of it just to help out," said Herboldsheimer. "Not a lot of people have the resources Area Ambulance Service does."

The first choice for an Iowa Ebola patient would be to get them to a national Biocontainment Treatment Center. If that's not possible, it's a trip to Iowa City. To get the patient there, ambulance crews will have to wear personal protection equipment.

"What we wanted to work with the crews on was first off, how to protect themselves because that's the most important thing," said
Mike Hartley, UIHC Emergency Management Coordinator.

Just as important -- keeping the virus contained. The patient would also be covered. A red line on the floor shows crews where they can and cannot be. Ambulance crews stick to one side, hospital employees on the other.

"Anytime you bring a patient here obviously anything we're bringing in is considered dirty," said Herboldsheimer. "That's why we have the red line. We don't want to cross contaminate at all.

Once the patient is inside the hospital, the employees working with the patient will not work with any other patients.

Iowa has not had any cases of Ebola and the Iowa Department of Public Health says that the likelihood of having any cases in the future is extremely low.



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