CHICAGO (CBS) — A University of Chicago expert says if Ebola strikes here, teams of doctors and technicians should be sent to the home, instead of sending the patients to the hospital.
UC Center for Global Health Clinical Director Dr. C. Sola Olopade said telling those who suspect that have contacted Ebola to stay at home, and bringing the care to them, has kept the spread of Ebola to a minimum in Nigeria, especially among emergency medicine personnel.
Olopade said the quarantine of some 50 people in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Tex., area because of the Ebola case in which Thomas Eric Duncan died shows the need for a treatment model that keeps the hospital out of it.
“Even if we have the best protocols, when people show up in the emergency room the first line of people are going to get contact with them,” he said.
In Nigeria, he said, people can pick up the phone and bring a treatment team to them, completely bypassing the hospital and minimizing outside exposure.
Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck is open to the idea of treating patients from the beginning at home. He said much follow-up away from the hospital is already built into follow-up.
“We would be empowering local health departments to send their manpower out to follow up on this,” Hasbrouck said. “It would be almost like an enhanced contact tracing model.”
Hasbrouck said the state could easily activate a phone line that would both provide answers about Ebola and could be used to summon doctors.
He said there has already been discussion about a help line, and said it can be activated “immediately” if the need is seen.