Blog Posts by Jason Sickles, Yahoo

  • U.S. was ill-equipped to handle Ebola rescues, State Dept. contract reveals

    Life-saving gear needed to fly sick patients was in storage as epidemic grew

    For now, the world has to rely on a small, Georgia-based flight company for Ebola evacuations. (AP)For now, the world has to rely on a small, Georgia-based flight company for Ebola evacuations. (AP)
    The air ambulance operation tasked with rescuing U.S. Ebola victims from West Africa was initially slowed by bureaucratic bungling and is now at risk of being overburdened as thousands of American troops deploy to fight the deadly disease.

    Yahoo News has learned the U.S. government spent millions last decade to develop and build two of the world’s only isolation chambers for flying contagious patients — but as the epidemic raged in West Africa this summer and American aid workers there needed evacuating, the medical inventions were packed away in a small-town Georgia warehouse.

    Click image to view entire contract for Ebola patient evacuations.Click image to view entire contract for Ebola patient evacuations.The troubling lack of preparedness by federal agencies forced the State Department to put up $4.9 million as part of a rushed contract to employ a commercial aviator to safely evacuate Ebola-infected Americans from West Africa.

    The Aeromedical Biological Containment System (ABCS), a tent-like structure that allows caregivers to treat a single patient in flight without infectious germs escaping, was engineered by

    Read More »from U.S. was ill-equipped to handle Ebola rescues, State Dept. contract reveals
  • Ebola outbreak over in Dallas, but other Texans still being monitored

    State doctor: ‘We’re happy to reach this milestone, but our guard stays up’

    A hazmat worker outside the apartment building of a Dallas nurse on Oct. 12. (LM Otero/AP)A hazmat worker outside the apartment building of a Dallas nurse on Oct. 12. (LM Otero/AP)

    DALLAS — Six weeks after the deadly Ebola virus was diagnosed here, health officials on Friday declared Dallas’ outbreak to be finally over.

    Monitoring of an unidentified hospital staffer who handled infected waste on Oct. 17 ended Thursday night. That person is the last of 177 people to be pronounced healthy after having contact with at least one of three Texas Ebola patients. Those in the group — which included health care workers, patients' families, first responders and even a dog — have all reached the 21-day mark, the longest incubation period.

    Thomas Eric Duncan in 2011 (Courtesy photo)Thomas Eric Duncan in 2011 (Courtesy photo)

    “Thanksgiving comes early,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said in a written statement. “It’s a time to reflect on the sacrifices of our hometown heroes and the city, county, and school district employees that worked so hard, along with our state and federal partners, to keep us safe during the Ebola crisis.”

    Dallas became ground zero on Sept. 30 for the Ebola scare that has seized the nation’s attention. That’s when Thomas Eric

    Read More »from Ebola outbreak over in Dallas, but other Texans still being monitored
  • Ebola-free nurse Amber Vinson discharged from Atlanta hospital

    DALLAS – A wide-eyed and smiling Amber Vinson walked out of Emory University Hospital in Atlanta Tuesday afternoon, becoming the seventh Ebola patient to beat the deadly disease after treatment in the United States.

    “I'm so grateful to be well,” Vinson said during a news conference. “I sincerely believe that with God, all things are possible.”

    Some of Vinson's colleagues watched her on live TV in a break room at Texas Health Presbyterian in Dallas. (Courtesy photo)Some of Vinson's colleagues watched her on live TV in a break room at Texas Health Presbyterian in Dallas. (Courtesy photo)Vinson, 29, was one of two Texas nurses to contract Ebola while treating Thomas Eric Duncan earlier this month in Dallas.

    She was admitted to Emory's serious communicable disease unit on Oct. 15 and was declared free of the deadly virus last week.

    “After a rigorous course of treatment and testing, we have determined that Ms. Vinson has recovered,” said Dr. Bruce Ribner, the unit's medical director. “She can return to her family, her community, and to her life without any concerns about transmitting this virus to any other individuals.”

    Vinson, wearing a gray suit and pink blouse, was accompanied at the news conference by her grandparents and an

    Read More »from Ebola-free nurse Amber Vinson discharged from Atlanta hospital
  • Washington school shooter Jaylen Fryberg's personal struggles revealed on social media

    Tweet: ‘I hate that I can't live without you’

    Students comfort each other following a shooting at Marysville-Pilchuck High School in Washington. (AP/Ted S. Warren)  CLICK for slideshow on Washington State school shooting.Students comfort each other following a shooting at Marysville-Pilchuck High School in Washington. (AP/Ted S. Warren) CLICK for slideshow on Washington State school shooting.

    Social media posts penned by the shooter in Friday’s rampage at a Washington State high school portray a head-over-heels teenager who grew more and more tormented when the relationship fell apart.

    Alleged Washington school shooter Jaylen Fryberg (Instagram)Alleged Washington school shooter Jaylen Fryberg (Instagram)Authorities have identified the gunman as Jaylen Fryberg. Fryberg’s Facebook page shows him living in Tulalip Bay, nine miles from Marysville-Pilchuck High School where police say two students were killed — including the gunman — and at least four others injured in the Friday morning tragedy.

    “I can't believe I just witnessed a shooting,” Austin Joyner, a student at the school, said on Twitter. “Kid came into the cafeteria and walked over to a table and pulled out the gun and shot 4-6 shots at students sitting down.”

    The Seattle Times reported that several students told them that Fryberg, a freshman, was responsible. Kobe Baumann, 14, told the paper that he was with Fryberg in English class shortly before the shooting, and that he appeared to be kind of nervous.

    “He sits right up in the

    Read More »from Washington school shooter Jaylen Fryberg's personal struggles revealed on social media
  • Nurse Nina Pham Ebola-free, meets Obama

    Official: She will be able to ‘visit, hold and play’ with her quarantined dog on Saturday

    DALLAS — After nearly two weeks in isolation, Ebola patient Nina Pham walked out of a Maryland hospital on Friday free of the deadly disease that has seized the nation’s attention.

    “She has no virus in her,” said Dr. Tony Fauci, director of the National Institutes of Health. “She is cured of Ebola, let's get that clear.”

    Fauci's boss' boss got the message. President Barack Obama invited Pham and her family to the White House where he gave the Ebola survivor a big hug.

    President Barack Obama hugs Ebola survivor Nina Pham at the Oval Office. (Reuters/Larry Downing)President Barack Obama hugs Ebola survivor Nina Pham at the Oval Office. (Reuters/Larry Downing)

    Pham — one of two Texas nurses to contract the disease while caring for the country’s first Ebola patient — was hopeful and humble as she left the hospital Friday morning.

    “I am on my way back to recovery even as I reflect on how many others have not been so fortunate,” Pham said. “I do not know how I can ever thank everyone enough for their prayers and their expressions of concerns, hope and love.”

    Still, the 26-year-old acknowledged the ordeal “has been very stressful and challenging for me and my family.”

    “Although I

    Read More »from Nurse Nina Pham Ebola-free, meets Obama
  • Nurse Amber Vinson free of Ebola virus, family says

    More than 100 Texans still being monitored for symptoms

    Amber Vinson is helped on to an air ambulance in Dallas last week. (Reuters/KXAS-TV) Amber Vinson is helped on to an air ambulance in Dallas last week. (Reuters/KXAS-TV)

    DALLAS — Barely a week after being diagnosed with Ebola, Texas nurse Amber Vinson is free of the deadly virus, her family said on Wednesday night.

    “We are overjoyed to announce that, as of [Tuesday] evening, officials at Emory University Hospital and the Centers for Disease Control are no longer able to detect virus in her body,” read a statement from a family spokesperson.

    Nurse Amber Vinson sitting up in her bed at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta on Tuesday. (AP/Amber Vinson)Nurse Amber Vinson sitting up in her bed at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta on Tuesday. (AP/Amber Vinson)

    Debra Berry, the nurse's mother, is in Dallas under a self-imposed quarantine, because she had recently spent time with Vinson. But Berry spoke with her daughter by phone on Wednesday night, according to the statement.

    “Amber and our family are ecstatic to receive this latest report on her condition,” Berry said in the statement. “We all know that further treatment will be necessary as Amber continues to regain strength, but these latest developments have truly answered prayers and bring our family one step closer to reuniting with her at home.”

    Jason McDonald, a CDC spokesperson, told Yahoo News late Wednesday

    Read More »from Nurse Amber Vinson free of Ebola virus, family says
  • Doctor gets emotional recounting Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan's final days, efforts to save him

    Dr. Gary Weinstein in his interview with WFAA-TV. The doctor has treated three Ebola patients at Texas Health Presbyterian. (Screen shot)Dr. Gary Weinstein in his interview with WFAA-TV. The doctor has treated three Ebola patients at Texas Health Presbyterian. (Screen shot)

    DALLAS — It’s been popular in the court of public opinion to condemn West African Thomas Eric Duncan for delivering Ebola to America’s doorstep.

    But a Texas doctor who tried to save the Ebola patient’s life doesn't see it that way.

    “I don’t think about it in terms of blame,” said Dr. Gary Weinstein, a Dallas critical care physician who was with Duncan when he died earlier this month.

    Duncan was living in Ebola-ravaged Liberia before arriving in Texas, but relatives have repeatedly said the 42-year-old had no idea he was infected before leaving his homeland — even after aiding a sick neighbor four days before his Sept. 19 flight. His neighbors and employer in Liberia have reported that Duncan received his visa to travel to the U.S. in early September.

    Either way, Weinstein — in a lengthy interview with Dallas’ WFAA-TV — said it would be difficult to second-guess Duncan for leaving West Africa, where the World Health Organization says the outbreak has killed 4,546 out of 9,191 known

    Read More »from Doctor gets emotional recounting Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan's final days, efforts to save him
  • Ebola quarantine ends for Thomas Eric Duncan’s fiancee, but not her heartache

    Louise Troh: ‘Our happiness is mixed with sadness at the same time’

    Louise Troh and her family will not return to the apartment where Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan visited them. (AP/LM Otero)Louise Troh and her family will not return to the apartment where Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan visited them. (AP/LM Otero)

    DALLAS — A month ago today Louise Troh was picking up her long-lost love, Thomas Eric Duncan, at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport — after 16 years and an ocean’s distance between them.

    Tragically, their fairy-tale reunion ended within days and they were separated again — this time a mere 15 miles apart.

    Duncan died on Oct. 8 in isolation at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas from the highly contagious Ebola virus, which his family says he unknowingly brought with him from West Africa.

    Thomas Eric Duncan died on Oct. 8 (Courtesy photo)Thomas Eric Duncan died on Oct. 8 (Courtesy photo)Troh never got to say goodbye in person. She and members of her family were kept in quarantine for a 21-day incubation period out of fear that Duncan might have passed on the dreaded disease during their week together.

    On Monday, health officials gave Troh the all-clear to resume her life.

    “Even though the quarantine is over, our time of mourning is not over,” Troh said in a statement provided by city officials. “My beloved fiance, Thomas Eric Duncan, who was also the father of my son,

    Read More »from Ebola quarantine ends for Thomas Eric Duncan’s fiancee, but not her heartache
  • Texas' biggest hospital chain still preparing for Ebola

    Nurse: ‘They should have started this months ago and they know it’

    Baylor Scott & White said it is upgrading its protective equipment to be like what was worn to transport Ebola patient Nina Pham to Maryland. (AP/Tony Gutierrez)Baylor Scott & White said it is upgrading its protective equipment to be like what was worn to transport Ebola patient Nina Pham to Maryland. (AP/Tony Gutierrez)

    DALLAS – The CDC has repeatedly said any hospital in the country can safely care for an Ebola patient, but the largest health care system in Texas told Yahoo News on Friday that only two of its 46 hospitals statewide are ready to treat someone with the deadly virus.

    Dr. Bob Pryor, Baylor Scott & White Health’s chief operating officer, made the revelation when asked about Ebola training currently underway at Baylor Medical Center in Irving, just miles from Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

    “So what we would do is we would transfer that patient to one of our facilities that have the adequate capability and capacity,” Pryor said. For now, he said, that means the system’s flagship hospitals in downtown Dallas and in the central Texas town of Temple.

    In a company email sent this week, Baylor Irving safety manager Joshua Ball told supervisors that the facility’s annual “Safety Day” scheduled for Thursday and Friday would be canceled “to do hands on PPE (personal protective equipment)

    Read More »from Texas' biggest hospital chain still preparing for Ebola
  • Dallas hospital exec on Ebola crisis: 'We are deeply sorry'

    Doctor will tell Congress that mistakes were made, lessons learned

    Dr. Daniel Varga, chief clinical officer at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital. (AP/LM Otero)Dr. Daniel Varga, chief clinical officer at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital. (AP/LM Otero)

    DALLAS — A top official at the Texas hospital where Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan died and two nurses contracted the deadly virus is apologizing to Congress for his facility’s “mistakes” in handling the highly contagious disease.

    A transcript of testimony by Dr. Daniel Varga, chief clinical officer of the hospital’s parent chain Texas Health Resources, is expected to be presented at noon Thursday before the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.

    Thomas Eric Duncan in 2011 (Courtesy photo)Thomas Eric Duncan in 2011 (Courtesy photo)“Unfortunately, in our initial treatment of Mr. Duncan, despite our best intentions and a highly skilled medical team, we made mistakes,” Varga’s testimony reads. “We did not correctly diagnose his symptoms as those of Ebola. We are deeply sorry.”

    Because he cannot attend the hearing, Varga’s remarks were posted on a federal government website on Wednesday.

    Texas Health is a faith-based, nonprofit organization consisting of 25 acute-care and short-stay hospitals. Varga, who was paid $500,000 in

    Read More »from Dallas hospital exec on Ebola crisis: 'We are deeply sorry'

Pagination

(236 Stories)