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Saturday, November 15, 2014

#HNNHealth Law Enforcement Safety During the USA #Ebola Outbreak #HNNCrime


Law Enforcement Safety During the USA Ebola Outbreak
By Dr Kemi Omololu-Olunloyo


The Ebola outbreak has ended for now in America and the CDC has declared the country of 300 million #Ebolafree. But in case there is another emergency, how do police and other first responders react? The NYPD handled the Craig Spencer transportation to Bellevue Hospital very well. What about other agencies?


New York daily News on Dr Craig Spencer breaking story
After living in America and Canada a total of 35 years and being a Toronto Police volunteer as a member of the Community Police Liaison Committee, it is imperative that I educate these modern police departments during this global Ebola outbreak. Why? There are a lot of potentially deadly issues that need to be addressed before it is too late. Here in Nigeria, Nigerian Police Force operates a little different. There are aspect of policing that are not dealt with here and such a case is domestic violence. We have no domestic violence laws which is a major problem many groups are still protesting and appealing for, therefore rarely do cops go into people's homes for domestic disturbances.

During the Dallas outbreak, I learned that a Deputy was at the residence of Liberian man Thomas Eric Duncan. Initially rumours and reports went out that the Deputy fell sick but he was fine as I later learned that he did not contract Ebola. We need to look into safety of law enforcement officers while there is still an outbreak in America with two nurses and others being treated. In Nigeria, we were declared an Ebola free country on October 20th, 2014, however we have to trace back the first patient who was the index patient here. What happened with Patrick Sawyer would be classified as a law enforcement issue if it were in America.

Sawyer became defiant and ripped off his IV's and began urinating on the three health care workers that attended to him. The Late Dr. Stella Ameyo Adadevoh and nurse Justin Elejonu were directly affected and contracted the virus almost immediately through Sawyer's body fluid notably his urine. Elejonu who was on the job only two days and also in a first trimester pregnancy lost her baby almost immediately. This was tragic as it was. the third nurse whose name was not disclosed during the whole ordeal also died. In the list of 7 people that died in our outbreak here in Nigeria, 5 were health care workers. In America, police would most likely have been called. Dr Adadevoh, the female Nigerian doctor was also very instrumental in keeping him in the facility and not allowing him to be discharged, mix with the general population and in the process sacrificed her own life.

US law enforcement agencies already use precautionary measures like gloves and masks to protect themselves during arrests to prevent any transmission of diseases through blood and body fluids, but could you possibly escape an unannounced scene of a patient standing on a bed urinating on staff? If the First Consultants Hospital in Lagos, Nigeria team wore hazmat suits then if they had known, they may have been alive but we learned these things as the disease situation happened. This aspect was fairly new to our country at the time as we had no case and Dr, Adadevoh made that excellent diagnosis discovery.

Thanks to the use of social media, Nurse Elejonu posted these accounts on her Facebook page while she was in isolation and later died. She also spoke about the need for experimental drugs on others in case she died! The First responder system is not the same here in Nigeria. We do not have an emergency response system like 911 where we can call police, ambulance or fire.

The Ebola epidemic remains a mystery and has now killed over 5000 people globally mostly in West Africa. Though we in Nigeria were declared Ebola Free, we are not letting our guard down. The World Health Organization continues to look for solutions, meeting with big Pharmaceutical companies in developing treatments. All Law enforcement officers in the United States must use caution, wear gloves, wash hands like a ritual, never transport a suspected Ebola patient showing symptoms or not in a police car, have an ambulance prepared for that task. Finally, like I told the Nigerian Police, don't allow a suspect to yell "I have Ebola" to deter you from an arrest. Do your job carefully and be safe! We want our American police friends also running #EbolaFree cities.

Update: As of when I wrote this article 2 weeks ago, I was on assignment and the USA is now Ebola Free and there are no known cases.

I am Dr Kemi Omololu-Olunloyo a US trained Pharmacist, Journalist and PR Specialist of 26 years based in Ibadan, Nigeria the largest city in West Africa. Also the News Director of #HNNAfrica, a world news portal for Nigerians and run #HNNHealth under the health twitter handle @HealthReports. U can contact me @HNNAfrica on twitter.

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