Archive for Medicine

The Secret’s Out

We’ve had mixed feelings about sharing the news of Israeli medics and doctors treating the wounded from Syria’s civil war. Of course we were eager to educate an ignorant (often willfully so) public about the humanity shown between supposed enemies. But as the Syrians who were treated needed to keep it hush-hush else they pay for their Israeli-restored health with their Syrian-taken lives, we didn’t want to ruin a good thing.

Guess that cat’s out of the bag:

Two years have passed since the State of Israel opened its gates to permit victims of Syria’s conflict to enter the country and receive medical treatment. While the media occasionally publishes articles that include interviews with the wounded or the civilian doctors who provide them treatment, issues such as the stressful and traumatic circumstances IDF paramedics experience in their work are rarely brought to the public’s attention.

The harrowing events experienced by soldiers during their long hours of work has been taking a toll the IDF can no longer ignore. Testimonies collected by Ynet from IDF medics and paramedics who served in the area for the past two years paint an alarming picture, detailing the extent to which IDF medical teams are influenced by the difficult scenes they encounter on almost a daily basis.

Ido (not his real name), who served in the past year as a medic in the sector, describes scenes of what he terms as “institutionalized madness.”

“It’s insane,” he says. “They wake you up at 5 am and tell you that at 8:30, you will have to carry out authorization checks (procedures in which you make sure the wounded are not terrorists) on dozens of severely wounded people who will be waiting for you at the security fence. That’s how you start your day. You brush your teeth, eat breakfast, knowing that in two more hours you’ll be treating an open head wound…It’s crazy.”

“As a medical team, we have a commitment to provide aid to every human being, even if he’s an enemy,” an IDF paramedic regularly stationed at the area said. “An unbelievable amount of wounded people from enemy countries pass through here,” she said, explaining that “you don’t know their names due to secrecy issues.”

Some, she said, are “children who you know were not involved in the any kind of fighting and arrive with a nearly-detached leg, or an elderly man who wasn’t treated for a week, whose hand is infected to the extent that you know that severing it is the only thing that will save his life.”

While the IDF refrains from specifying the exact number of Syrians Israel has taken in so far, estimates place the number at several thousand. According to data from hospitals in the north, as many as 1,000 wounded passed through their doors. Many others were released directly from the military field hospital set up at the border.

You can see how that might take a toll. But leave it to the Israelis to make chicken soup out of chicken poop:

“The advantage of the work is the operational experience we received in treating the wounded, us during Operation Protective Edge. It improved the quality of our medical care more than any training exercise, and helped us not suffer from shock when we were inside Gaza, treating wounded soldiers.”

So, there’s that.

Again, we feel proud even just to share this news. But don’t let it get around. Israel’s got a reputation to protect.

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Department of Settled Science

Another one bites the (lo-fat) dust:

Every five years, the government updates its Dietary Guidelines to help citizens make healthier food choices. One of the six core goals since the 1970s has been to limit the intake of cholesterol to less than 300mg/day, about the amount in one egg.

The nation’s top nutrition advisors, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, have decided to drop its caution about eating cholesterol-laden food, which could undo almost 40 years of government warnings about its consumption, according to The Washington Post.

The greater danger, experts now believe, lies not in foods including eggs, shrimp or lobster, which are high in cholesterol, but in too many servings of foods loaded with saturated fat, such as fatty meats, whole milk, and butter.

Major studies have indicated that eating an egg a day does not raise a healthy person’s risk of heart disease, though diabetic patients may be at more risk.

Over time, scientists have learned that the body creates cholesterol in amounts much larger than diet provides, that the body regulates how much is in the blood and that there is both “good” and “bad” cholesterol.

Where does the egg go to get its reputation back?

What next, global warming is a fraud?

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It’s ObaMagic!

He can expand Medicaid and shrink it…at the same time!!!!

A stunning new report claims that 50 percent of the doctors who are listed as being under contract with Medicaid to treat patients are not available for appointments, according to The New York Times.

They are either not accepting new Medicaid patients or no longer lived at their last known addresses, according to the report from the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services.

“Half of providers could not offer appointments to enrollees,” the investigators, led by the inspector general Daniel Levinson said in the report, which was due to be released on Tuesday.

The investigators called participating doctors’ offices and found that they were often unavailable or unable to make appointments. More than one-third of providers could not be found at the location listed by a Medicaid plan, the newspaper said.

“In these cases, callers were sometimes told that the practice had never heard of the provider, or that the provider had practiced at the location in the past but had retired or left the practice,” Levinson told the Times. “Some providers had left months or even years before the time of the call.”

I can picture the doctor hiding in the supply closet hissing “Tell them I’m not here!”

“Over a quarter of providers had wait times of more than one month, and 10 percent had wait times longer than two months,” the report said, adding that the delays could cause serious complications for patients.

“For example, a number of obstetricians had wait times of more than one month, and one had wait times of more than two months for an enrollee who was eight weeks pregnant. Such lengthy wait times could result in a pregnant enrollee receiving no prenatal care in the first trimester.”

ObamaCare becomes law of the land; women, poor hardest hit!

Where’d the docs go?

Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion is facing a new threat from an unlikely source: the law itself.

An additional 9.1 million Americans have been added to the Medicaid rolls in the year since the program expanded under Obamacare. But a scheduled cut in Medicaid payments — built into the law — could steer doctors away from taking new patients covered the program.

That’s because a temporary payment bump to Medicaid primary care doctors, included in the Affordable Care Act, is likely to expire at the end of the year. That will mean an average payment cut of 42.8 percent to Medicaid primary care doctors next year, according to a new Urban Institute analysis.

The federal Medicaid reimbursement to doctors vary by state, but they’re lower than the rates paid by private insurers and the Medicare program. And that affects doctors’ willingness to take new Medicaid patients.

Who wouldn’t take on more work for half the pay?

Why are you conservatives so hung up on big government?

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!! Saps. Suckers.

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Apartheid State Update

If Israel is a “cancer” (as many Hamass-types describe it), I guess it takes one to know one:

The sister of Hamas senior official Moussa Abu Marzouk is being treated in an Israeli hospital for cancer, Israel Radio reported Monday.

The hospitalization of the sister of Abu Marzouk is the latest case of a relative of a member of the terror group being treated in Israel despite a toxic relationship with the Jewish state.

The 60-year-old woman, who was not named in the report or by medical officials, suffers from advanced-stage cancer. Her condition is critical, and she remains hospitalized in Israel, according to the report.

Despite the ongoing state of war between Israel and Hamas, Israel has allowed Palestinians to enter Israel for medical treatments not available in Gaza.

This policy has meant that the family members of Hamas leaders often receive medical treatments in the Jewish state. Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh has seen his mother-in-law, daughter and granddaughter all treated in Israeli hospitals.

Last month, Haniyeh’s daughter was hospitalized at Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Hospital for “a number of days,” according to a hospital spokesman. The hospital did not disclose her medical condition, but Reuters reported the treatment followed complications during a standard medical procedure the woman had undergone in Gaza.

In June, Haniyeh’s 68-year-old mother-in-law was treated in Augusta Victoria Hospital, near Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives.

And in November 2013, Haniyeh’s one-year-old granddaughter received treatment in Israel for an infection in her digestive tract. She was evacuated to an Israeli hospital in critical condition, but was returned to her family in Gaza after her condition was deemed incurable, an Israeli military spokesman said. The girl later died of her condition.

Ahmed Yousef, a senior Hamas official in Gaza, said at the time that Haniyeh was left with little choice. He said the girl’s case was life-threatening, and with Gaza’s borders virtually sealed by Israel and Egypt, there was no other place to go.

“If you are on the verge of death, and your enemy is the only one to treat you, of course you will resort to him,” he said. “Children of Hamas leaders are human beings.”

I guess; though how inhuman beings give birth to human beings is beyond me.

All you critics of Israel, line up to contribute to the ISIS medical fund. If you don’t pay for some Islamic State’s great aunt to get her teeth fixed, shut the [bleep] up.

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Ebola Ain’t No Thang

What, me worry?

Ron Klain, the man appointed by President Barack Obama on Friday to head up the government’s response to the Ebola virus in the United States, will not clock in on his new job until Wednesday.

White House Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz told reporters in Chicago on Monday that it isn’t unusual for it to take weeks or months for an appointee to complete the “onboarding process,” The Washington Examiner reports.

“It is not that long of a lapse,” Schultz said.

No, of course not. Ebola must be scared [bleepless], if you’ll pardon the pun, by this guy’s dogged determinism.

Press reports already have noted Klain missing two meetings with the president on Ebola since his appointment was announced. And he won’t testify on Friday before a Republican-led House hearing, because, Schultz said, “That will be day three of his tenure.”

Can’t he appear and just take the 5th, like Lois Lerner?

I just hope Ebola does the sporting thing and gives Klain the chance to set up his desk: fill his stapler, open his desk calendar to the correct date, get the right mix of coffee and Cremora. No fair infecting more nurses, Ebola! (Though Ebola has good taste; they’re cute!)

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Congratulations Nigeria!

We’re used to losing to Africans in marathons, but we thought we had them beat in medicine.

I blame our “coach”:

Nigeria has been declared officially free of Ebola after six weeks with no new cases, the World Health Organization (WHO) says.

WHO representative Rui Gama Vaz, speaking in the capital Abuja, said it was a “spectacular success story”.

Nigeria won praise for its swift response after a Liberian diplomat brought the disease there in July.

The outbreak has killed more than 4,500 people in West Africa, mostly in Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone.

An estimated 70% of those infected have died in those countries.

The WHO officially declared Senegal Ebola-free on Friday.

Senegal? Senegal’s medical system bested ours? Words fail me…

The WHO can declare an Ebola outbreak over if two incubation periods of 21 days pass with no new cases. The last reported case in Nigeria – Africa’s most populous country – was discovered on 5 September.

The BBC’s Will Ross in Lagos says the nightmare scenario of Ebola spreading through Nigeria’s 170 million people has been avoided and the nation is heaving a collective sigh of relief.

I would have bet (someone else’s) money that once Ebola hit Lagos, it was goodnight Nigeria.

How’d they do it?

Officials credit tighter border controls, good patient-tracking and other medical practices, and just plain luck with keeping Ebola confined mostly to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea since the outbreak was first identified nearly seven months ago.

Senegal did so well in finding and isolating a man with Ebola who had slipped across the border from Guinea in August that the World Health Organization on Friday will declare the end of the disease in Senegal if no new cases surface.

Nigeria is another success story. It had 20 cases and eight deaths after the virus was brought by a Liberian-American who flew from Liberia to Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital of 21 million people, in July. Nearly 900 people were potentially exposed to the virus by the traveler, who died, and the disease could have wreaked havoc in Africa’s most populous nation.

Border closings may also be helping halt the spread of Ebola.

Ivory Coast, Guinea-Bissau and Senegal, all of which share borders with at least one of the three most affected countries, have closed those borders.

Nigeria initially banned flights from countries with Ebola but relaxed the restriction once it felt that airlines were competent to take travelers’ temperatures and follow other measures to prevent people with Ebola from flying.

Nigeria has teams taking the temperature of travelers at airports and seaports.

Another factor is luck. All it takes is one infected person to slip around guards at a border post or get aboard a plane.

“God has been merciful we haven’t reported a case in Kenya, but we really need to up our disaster preparedness,” said Dr. Nelly Bosire, an official with Kenya’s main medical union.

“The fact we stopped doing the West African flights had an impact. On that part I think we got it right. But it still has more to do with luck.”

Luck is the residue of design, the saying goes. Meanwhile, we still haven’t cleaned up the residue where Thomas Eric Duncan hurled.

But we’ll get there! Look out, Senegal, we’re right behind ya!

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“Street Anger” and “Agitation” Watch

I sense a new theme, don’t you, John Kerry?

The daughter of the leader of Gaza’s Hamas terror militia, Ismail Haniyeh, received emergency medical treatment in an Israeli hospital in Tel Aviv earlier this month, according to Reuters news agency.

Ichilov Hospital confirmed the report and said that the daughter had been released over a week ago.

“Ismail Haniyeh’s daughter was indeed hospitalized for medical treatment for several days at the hospital,” Ichilov said. “Over 1,000 patients from Gaza and the Palestinian Authority territories – both adults and children – are hospitalized for treatment at our hospital every year.”

Several of Haniyeh’s relatives have received medical treatment in Israel, including his mother in-law and granddaughter, despite the fact that he has pledged Israel’s utter destruction.

Fine, go to Israel for treatment if you must.

But don’t drink the water!

Last month, official PA TV revived another medieval libel reporting as news that Israel was intentionally “injecting poison” into Palestinian water sources as a “war strategy” during the recent Gaza war:

Official PA TV newsreader: “Water experts have warned of the consequences of the attack by the occupation [Israel] on water wells, as a result of its use of poisonous bombs that threaten public health…”

Official PA TV reporter: “The policy of attacking water wells is a war strategy used by the occupation in its aggression against Gaza. Not only were the people deprived of water, but poison was also injected into main [water] sources, destroying agriculture.” [Official PA TV, Sept. 24, 2014]

That’s enough to make the quietest street angry! And you don’t know from agita.

PS: While we’re on the subject of blood libel, I hope the Israelis siphoned off a pint or two. A matzo isn’t matzo without that special ingredient!

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Coming to America

You don’t need a brain as big as this guy’s to know that travel from West Africa is a bad idea right now—but as long as he has one anyway:

[A]ccording to the head of a research institute in Cambridge, the new restrictions might still not go far enough.

Yaneer Bar-Yam leads the New England Complex Systems Institute, and for years he’s been arguing that in cases of severe infectious disease outbreaks, the best policy might be to prohibit travel from afflicted countries altogether.

“At the global level, I do think transportation should be curtailed from, but not to, West Africa,” he says.

Bar-Yam is trained as a physicist. His research primarily focuses on the behavior of complex systems, like, for example, the way an infectious disease moves through a population. In 2006 he coauthored a paper with Erik Rauch, a computer scientist at MIT, called “Long-range interactions and evolutionary stability in a predator-prey system.” The title is a mouthful, but the paper’s implications for the current Ebola outbreak are stark. Bar-Yam and Rauch used mathematical models to simulate the spread of an infectious disease; their analysis suggests that even small amounts of travel between regional populations may be enough to allow an infectious disease to jump from one country to another. “Even if significant mixing already exists,” the authors write, “a small amount of additional mixing may cause extinction.” And in this case, extinction means us.

And we all know how liberals love models. Sounds like “settled science” to me.

“Severe pathogens . . . can be stopped by the very fact that they’re destructive,” he says. “If they kill off their host, whatever’s going to happen is going to happen locally.” In other words, epidemics burn out on their own when the disease has no one left to infect, provided they’re not able to hop across oceans on airplanes.

One of the biggest arguments against travel restrictions is the sense that our health care system can handle isolated Ebola cases as they crop up here. Bar-Yam thinks that confidence is misplaced, a view which has gained some currency as it’s emerged that a Dallas hospital misdiagnosed and released Duncan when he first showed up for treatment.

Doctors trace the severity of an outbreak by the average number of people become ill after contact with an infected person. If the number is one or less, the outbreak is stable or declining. If it’s greater than one, it’s spreading. Thomas Eric Duncan infected two people (that we know of), trained nurses, in a “health care system can handle isolated Ebola cases as they crop up here”.

If you weren’t soiling your drawers before, now’s a good time to start. If you were, you should get checked out. It’s a symptom.

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Ebola Follies

All hemorrhagic fever all the time:

U.S. standards for protecting healthcare workers from Ebola are weaker than those widely used in West Africa, according to the leader of a group treating victims of the virus in Liberia.

“We’re not comfortable with [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)] procedures,” Ken Isaacs, the vice president of Samaritan’s Purse, told The Hill.

When Samaritan’s Purse health workers treat patients in Liberia, they wear two pairs of gloves and spray themselves with disinfectant twice before leaving the isolation ward. They have a three-foot “no touch” policy and hold safety meetings every day.

In U.S. hospitals — such as Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, which has had three cases of Ebola — workers don’t have to hose down their gear and are told it’s OK for gloves to expose their wrists.

“If you slip, and you touch your skin on the wrist, you’re going to get Ebola,” said Isaacs, who has worked on-the-ground disaster relief in countries like Haiti, the Philippines and Bosnia.

“Can we trust CDC? They said they were going to stop it in its tracks, but I don’t know.”

The nurses don’t trust the CDC:

National Nurses United, the country’s largest nurses union, has unleashed fierce criticism of the hospital this week, alleging that the disease spread because of incompetent management and poor training.

Brianna Aguirre, a nurse at the Dallas hospital, told NBC’s “Today Show” on Thursday that she has watched people at her hospital “violate basic principles of nursing care and medical care.”

She said her garb left parts of her neck exposed, and some nurses would use tape to cover the area. She added that potentially exposed nurses would go into other patients’ rooms without disinfectants.

The CDC raised its standards for protective gear this week to include garb that does not expose a worker’s neck. It also added “an enhanced and detailed step-by-step disinfection of hands.”

But as good Dr. Frieden said yesterday, you can get Ebola, but you can’t give it.

In further developments:

On Monday, a CDC official cleared Vinson to fly from Cleveland to Dallas on board Frontier Airlines Flight 1143 despite the fact that she had called and reported having a slight fever, one of the common symptoms of the Ebola virus. Vinson’s reported temperature — 99.5 degrees — was below the threshold of 100.4 degrees set by the agency and she had no symptoms, according to CDC spokesman David Daigle.

Federal sources, though, are now saying she “lied” about how she was feeling. Though she told the CDC she had a low-grade fever, according to sources her family said she was feeling tired and not feeling well. But sources said this information was not conveyed to CDC officials when she called to ask about flying.

She called the CDC, reported her symptoms, and abided by their advice. She had tended a dying Ebola patient. And they’re calling her a liar?

Did it not occur to the bozos that 99.5 could be just a transitional temperature on the way to their beloved 100.4? Who checks their temperature anyway unless they’re not feeling well? She reported herself ill—after working with an Ebola patient—and they let her fly.

You almost have to laugh. I do, but it’s getting harder.

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Ebola Follies

I’m no doctor, no public health official, but these imbeciles make know-nothing criticism so easy anyone can do it.

Join me, it’s fun!

As news helicopters swarmed over Dallas’ Love Field this evening to watch the second U.S. nurse to contract Ebola board a private plane bound for Atlanta, one lone mysterious man stood out from the pack.

Holding a clipboard and directing the transfer, the unidentified man seemed to be the only person on the tarmac without protective clothing, wearing just a button down shirt and trousers.

While Ebola is not an airborne disease, his presence so close to patient Amber Vinson’s medical team sparked fears after he was seen grabbing a container and hazmat trash bag from one of the workers’ in full-protective gear and later boarding the flight.

It is believed he flew with Vinson and the other hazmat-suited medical staff to Atlanta and local television crews spotted him with the stricken nurse as she disembarked at the airport in Georgia to be transferred to Emory University Hospital.

When the plane landed in Atlanta, the man had still not donned any protective clothing and was seen openly interacting with Vinson and the other medical professionals caring for the nurse.

This would be Nurse Vinson’s third flight while infected, by the way:

The second Dallas nurse to contract Ebola after treating U.S. ‘patient zero’ Thomas Eric Duncan received permission from the CDC to get on a commercial flight with a low-grade fever on Monday.

Miss Vinson was one of the nurses at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital to treat Duncan when he was admitted a second time on September 28, in the first ‘high-risk’ days.

But on October 10, Miss Vinson left the Dallas area to plan her upcoming wedding in Cleveland, Ohio. Before her return flight on Monday, the nurse noticed a spike in her temperature and called the CDC several times to see if she should get on the plane.

When she finally got through to a CDC representative, she was cleared since her 99.5F fever was beneath the 100.4 threshold.

CDC Director Dr Thomas Frieden admits that was the wrong call.

‘Those who have exposures to Ebola, she should not have traveled on a commercial airline,’ Dr Frieden said Wednesday. ‘The CDC guidance in this setting outlines the need for controlled movement. That can include a charter plane; that can include a car; but it does not include public transport. We will from this moment forward ensure that no other individual who is being monitored for exposure undergoes travel in any way other than controlled movement.’

Wait a minute, doc. You have some ‘splainin’ to do too:

Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said during a telephone press briefing Wednesday that you cannot get Ebola by sitting next to someone on a bus, but that infected or exposed persons should not ride public transportation because they could transmit the disease to someone else.

“I think there are two different parts of that equation,” he continued. “The first is, if you’re a member of the traveling public and are healthy, should you be worried that you might have gotten it by sitting next to someone? And the answer is no.”

“Second, if you are sick and you may have Ebola, should you get on a bus? And the answer to that is also no. You might become ill, you might have a problem that exposes someone around you,” he said.

I title this series Ebola Follies because it resembles a goofy stage farce. But it keeps getting funnier. I see this show running for years.

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Ebola Follies

Sow the wind, reap the whirlwind: [A few additional thoughts to Aggie’s similar post below]

A second Texas nurse who has contracted Ebola flew on a commercial flight from Ohio to Dallas with a slight temperature the day before she was diagnosed, health officials said on Wednesday, raising new concerns about U.S. efforts to control the disease.

Chances that other passengers on the plane were infected were very low, but the nurse should not have been traveling on the flight, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Thomas Frieden told reporters.

The woman, Amber Vinson, 29, was isolated immediately after reporting a fever on Tuesday, Texas Department of State Health Services officials said. She had treated Liberian patient Thomas Eric Duncan, who died of Ebola and was the first patient diagnosed with the virus in the United States.

As Aggie reported earlier, Obama canceled a fundraising junket so as to appear to be involved (if not interested) in the effort to stave of an epidemic. No wonder stocks tanked (see below). If he cancels golf this weekend, move to New Zealand as soon as you can.

Frieden said Vinson had been monitoring herself for symptoms of Ebola and failed to report that her temperature had risen to 99.5 degrees before she departed for Dallas. Even so, Frieden said the risk to other passengers was “very low” because she did not vomit on the flight and was not bleeding.

He added that authorities had identified three people who had direct contact with her before she was isolated.

Dr. Mary DiOrio, interim chief of the Ohio Department of Health’s Division of Prevention and Health Promotion, told reporters Vinson visited family in Akron from Oct. 8 to Oct. 13 before she flew to Dallas on Frontier.

Lovely young woman, I’m sure. Doing God’s work. Of course she should not have taken the flight; of course she should have reported herself a week ago. But she did, and she didn’t. People do s**t like that all the time, sometimes with consequences, sometimes without.

I just love (as in hate) the fact that the CDC declares that an American citizen should not have taken a flight, yet recoils in horror at the suggestion that Liberian nationals from a Hot Zone be denied entry. We are so [bleeped]. Hello, Auckland!

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Hang Down Your Head, Thomas Eric Duncan

Hang down your head and cry.
Another nurse ’bout to die:

A second healthcare worker at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital has tested positive for Ebola.

The worker was among those who cared for Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person to die from the deadly virus on U.S. soil.

The unnamed member of staff reported a fever yesterday and were immediately isolated at the hospital, the Texas department of state health services has revealed.

Health officials have interviewed the latest patient to identify any contacts or potential exposures and has said that those people will be monitored.

Mr Duncan arrived in Texas from Liberia on September 20. He began showing symptoms of Ebola three days after his arrival and was admitted to Texas Presbyterian Hospital on Sunday 28. He died on Wednesday October 8.

Three weeks ago, Tom Duncan was just an anonymous Liberian—who had happened to carry a dying, communicable Ebola patient—seeking a better life in America. Today, he is Patient Zero in an outbreak that threatens to collapse the entire American health care system. That’s not my hyperbole. That’s public health officials. I’ll leave it to the geekier of our readers to do the math of how many people could Duncan and the 70 health care workers have infected in the time he was here. Two so far, but two is infinitely more than we were told was possible. Who believes anything the CDC says?

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