Queensland Health defends Ebola response
Queensland Health has hit back at “irresponsible” claims it bungled its handling of a possible Ebola case in Cairns.
Brisbane’s The Courier-Mail quoted unnamed doctors blasting the decision to treat nurse Sue Ellen Kovack in the “busy emergency department rather than in isolation” when she presented with a low-range fever.
Queensland federal MP Bob Katter, who this week suggested all aid workers returning from Ebola zones should be isolated for three weeks in strict quarantine, seized on the report to continue his attack on the health authorities’ response.
“Keeping a suspected Ebola patient in a public emergency ward is beyond comprehension,” Mr Katter said in a statement.
“…The reassurances provided by authorities are, at kindest, misleading and in light of media reports today, fall well short of proper responsible disclosure.”
Queensland Health has defended its treatment of Ebola scare patient Sue Ellen Kovack.
But Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service chief executive Julie Harley-Jones said she was “appalled” by the news report.
“It was irresponsible for The Courier-Mail to imply that the patient being in the Emergency Department represented a risk to other patients,” she said in a statement.
“When the patient presented to Cairns Hospital on 9 October she was admitted to the closest negative pressure room available.
“There is no chance that any patients presenting to the Emergency Department would be able to enter this room with access limited by two security doors.”
Ms Harley-Jones said Ms Kovack’s treatment had been “spot on” and she wanted to assure the community there was “no reason to panic”.
“Yesterday I was in the Emergency Department with the clinical director who had no concerns about the appropriateness of treating the patient in ED,” she said.
“…Our Health Service continues to provide excellent care to this patient and any reports to the contrary are absurd.”
Queensland’s chief medical officer Jeanette Young said she had “every confidence” in the way Cairns Hospital staff had handled the situation.
“Of course, following any major event we evaluate to examine what could have been done differently,” Dr Young said.
“While I have no doubt that this situation was handled well, we will look to see if processes need to change should the situation arise in the future.”
Comment has been sought from News Queensland, the publisher of The Courier-Mail.