WASHINGTON, October 25 (RIA Novosti) - The lack of mandates and shifting guidelines from agencies leaves caregivers uncertain and vulnerable to Ebola, Co-president of National Nurses United Deborah Burger stated.
"This is what happens when guidelines are inefficient and voluntary. We've called on President Obama to evoke his executive authority and urge the congress legislatively to mandate uniform optimal national standards," Burger said to the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee Friday.
Burger stated that in her organization's experience, hospitals would not act on their own to secure the highest standards of protection without specific directives. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provide guidelines to hospitals but do not mandate standards.
A National Nurses United survey of over 3,000 nurses in over 1,000 hospitals in every state, the District of Columbia, and the Virgin Islands revealed 85 percent of nurses were not adequately trained and the level of preparation for Ebola was insufficient, Burger commented.
"Give us the tools we need," urged Burger. "No nation would ever contemplate sending soldiers into the battlefield without armor and weapons," she added.
National Nurses United has 190,000 members and is the largest organization of nurses in the United States.
Three health care workers exposed to the Ebola virus contracted the disease while in the United States. One of the health care workers is now Ebola-free, and two others are in hospital isolation units.
According to the most recent report by the World Health Organization (WHO), the current Ebola outbreak has claimed the lives of more than 4,800 people, with more than 9,900 confirmed, probable and suspected infection cases. There is no officially approved cure for the disease, but several countries are currently working on developing Ebola vaccines, with Russia planning to introduce three vaccines within the next six months.