Changing how the world thinks about nursing

Join our Facebook group Twitter bird search box

Truth's executive director appears on CNN

CNN Brooke Baldwin and Sandy SummersOctober 16, 2014 -- Today Truth executive director Sandy Summers appeared on CNN Newsroom with anchor Brooke Baldwin to discuss the role of nurses in Ebola care, particularly in light of the recent infections of two nurses in Texas. See the 6 minute video clip or see the transcript (search for "Summers").

Below is the CNN original transcript

BALDWIN: You're watching to CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

At risk of losing her job, this nurse at Texas Health Presbyterian in Dallas, is going public about the risks her hospital took caring for Thomas Eric Duncan, the first to die of this Ebola virus in the United States. Her name is Briana Aguirre. She reveals chronic mistakes the Dallas hospital committed from the start, she says, including initially putting Duncan into a room with seven other patients. This nurse spoke to the "Today" show and she'll speak to Anderson Cooper tonight, so tune in at 8:00 eastern. But Aguirre never provided care for Duncan. She has cared for Nina Pham, her fellow nurse, now with Ebola. And Aguirre said this about what she would do if she herself contracted the virus.


BRIANA AGUIRRE, NURSE, TEXAS HEALTH PRESBYTERIAN HOSPITAL: Knowing what I know, I would try anything and everything to refuse to go there to be treated. I would feel at risk by going there. If I don't actually have Ebola, I may contract it there.


BALDWIN: With me now, Sandy Summers, founder and executive director of the Truth about Nursing.

Sandy, nice to have you on. Welcome.


BALDWIN: So we are now hearing from this CDC doctor who spent two weeks at this Dallas hospital, and this is what he told CNN, quote, "People are scared to go there." Apparently not even half of the beds are full right now. "Scared" was his word. Let me ask you, reality check for all of us, Sandy, if you were a nurse or a patient in Dallas, would you be scared as well?

SUMMERS: The nurses did raise a lot of concerns about the way the virus was being handled, the lack of a bright line on the floor to cross between what's clean and what's dirty, the trash piling up. And it was very sad to hear that infection control policies were very low. Apparently, they were following CDC guidelines. And I'm happy to see the CDC guidelines have ratcheted up their precautions. But still, on their website, I do not find anywhere for hazmat boots or protective gear.

When patients are sick with Ebola, they have a lot of vomiting and diarrhea. And when you have to clean up a patient that's had vomiting and diarrhea, there are body fluids everywhere, including falling off the bed onto your shoes and ankles and pants. And nurses need hazmat boots and rubber aprons to be able to properly prepare for patients and keep their body fluids from seeping into their clothes. It's possible that Nina Pham and Amber Vinson got it from taking off their shoes and socks because it doesn't seem like there was foot protection. We don't know exactly how they --


BALDWIN: We don't know.


BALDWIN: They're looking into it. They are trying to figure out how this went from the patient to two nurses. You paint a very ugly picture of this particular virus. And in response to all of that from these nurses, you know, this hospital in Dallas released this blow-by- blow, countering these multiple accusations. And overall, this hospital says it follows CDC protocol. And there were fears about Duncan's lab specimens containing other patients'. They say it didn't leak or spill. They said the nurse's necks were exposed.

Listen to one more thing this nurse in Dallas said.


AGUIRRE: I'll be honest, I threw a fit. I just couldn't believe it. I just flat-out asked several infectious disease nurses and asked the CDC, why would I wear two pairs of gloves, three pairs of booties and plastic suit covering my entire body and leave my neck hanging out this much so that something can potentially go close to my mouth or nose?


BALDWIN: That was kind of the point you were making. Here's my question. I know that Sanjay has been talking to a federal official who says we know both nurses are not at this Dallas hospital. And one of the reasons, as explained to him, that there are real fears that these nurses will walk out. Do you think they should or that they would?

SUMMERS: I'm sorry. The nurses on staff would walk out?

BALDWIN: That's one of the fears, correct.

SUMMERS: Right. It's a concern that the hospital did not appear to be up to date. And I believe the vast majority of hospitals across the nation have not prepared their staffs to be up to date if a patient should walk in the door. Every hospital needs to be prepared for a patient to walk in with Ebola. That's what happened to Texas Presbyterian. They didn't get advance notice, as Emory got when they received two patients, that someone would be walking into their E.R. So we all need to be on alert and look out for Ebola --


BALDWIN: Sure. As you well know, nurses are incredibly compassionate people. Do you see these nurses, as perhaps fearful or anxious or angry as they may be, do you actually see them walking out?

SUMMERS: Well, nurses do not lightly abandon their patients, that's for sure. But it's very sad that nurses are not listened to. And in our book, "Saving Lives, The Media Portrayal of Nursing Puts Us All at Risk," we talk about how society undervalues nursing because people don't understand what nurses do to save lives and improve patient outcomes. Hospital administrators don't understand what nurses do in their every day practice. They do 24/7 surveillance and intervention. They advocate for patients.

And it seems as though the nurses at Texas Presbyterian were trying to advocate for better care, better public health for Mr. Duncan and the patients who surrounded him at the hospital, and they were not listened to. A nursing supervisor tried to put Mr. Duncan in isolation and met with resistance from other hospital officials. The nurses who were taking care of Mr. Duncan were trying to exhibit good infection control, and as Ms. Aguirre said, there was not proper equipment provided to the nurses to protect the nurses and to protect public health.

BALDWIN: That's right. They are working to get to the bottom of it. Sandy Summers, we'll be listening through the whole journey.

Sandy, thank you, executive director of the Truth about Nursing. Appreciate you.

SUMMERS: Thanks so much.

BALDWIN: And we continue on. Top of the hour. I'm Brooke Baldwin. You are watching CNN.


book cover, Saving lives

A Few Successes —
We Can Change the Media!

Educate the world that nurses save lives!

Save Lives. Be a Nurse. bumper sticker