Friday, October 17, 2014

Official version vs reality

The ebola outbreak confirms once again the disconnect between the theory laid down by authorities and what actually happens in real life.

It's around us all the time.

Governments tell us how important tourism is to their economy and how they welcome us with open arms - then we meet their Immigration & Customs officers at the airport. And boy, is it different.

Politicians tell us they stand for election because of their desire to make things better for us - then line their own pockets at our expense.

Store owners tell us that we, their customers, are their number one priority - then we have to deal with bored, disinterested staff.

With ebola, governments beyond west Africa have been saying there's no problem, cast-iron protocols are in place and there's no danger of anyone catching the virus.

Then, as in the US, when citizens do catch it, it's obvious that the protocols are far from adequate - and people dealing with patients ignore them anyway.

In Texas, where the original patient died and two nurses contracted the virus from him, another nurse has revealed:  ...scenes of "chaos" at the hospital with staff having no idea how to tackle the virus. She said the hazmat suit she was issued had a large gap in the neck and that materials used to treat suspected Ebola patients were left festering in corridors for days.

She claimed that suspected Ebola patients were wheeled around the hospital without protection and that doctors were told it was acceptable to move between rooms without disinfecting.

Dr Frieden of the US Centres for Disease Control & Infection defended his agency's handling of the Ebola crisis while conceding the agency may have allowed a Texas nurse to fly on a commercial airline even though she was among a group of health-care workers involved in treating the first case of Ebola diagnosed in the nation.

Once again a huge disconnect between theory and practice. Yet real life never seems to be taken into account when protocols are designed. Nor is a system developed for ensuring that people at the bottom of the ladder who have to deliver whatever it is, actually do deliver what was promised.

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