NURSES at Carlos III Hospital in Madrid are reportedly refusing to work with confirmed or suspected cases of the Ebola virus.
According to them, the safety conditions are not adequate. “Some members of the staff have nullified their contracts to avoid entering rooms,” said Provincial Vice-Secretary of Nurses’ Union SAE Elvira Gonzalez.
Several nurses and technicians have tendered their resignations and others have refused to provide treatment to patients under the current conditions, explained Gonzalez.
Though the hospital does not force any staff member to enter a room if they refuse to do so, the truth is that a health professional is in theory obligated to provide care to anyone who is sick.
As of right now, it is not completely clear if the protective suits and the protocols put in place are adequate, she said. If health professionals feel they are being forced to work under inadequate conditions, they could denounce the administration for a public health offense, remarked Gonzalez, adding that not even the Regional Health Department can be sure that the protocol is foolproof, so no one is forced to do anything against their will.
A member of the hospital staff said: “I know many are making excuses. They say they have their period, that they are dizzy and that they have claustrophobia. People cannot work when they get anxious and nervous.”
The members of the hospital staff who have been treating both Romero and the isolated patients are being given psychological counseling to help them cope with the stress they are under.
The World Health Organisation said that more Ebola cases are likely to be seen in Europe after the Spanish nurse became the first person known to have become infected with the virus outside Africa.