By Shaun Gibson @ShaunyNews
‘Who’s the idiot with the clipboard?’ Disbelief and panic as mystery man WITHOUT a hazmat suit helps second Ebola nurse board her plane to Atlanta, disposes waste and then climbs aboard
- Man casually dressed in shirt and pants seen on TV walking with Ebola patient Amber Vinson
- He carried a clipboard and walked alongside Ms Vinson and healthcare workers who were ALL dressed in hazmat suits
- He has been identified as a supervisor for Phoenix Air, the company that flew Miss Vinson to Atlanta
- Miss Vinson walked onto the plane in Dallas and the man without protection also boarded the plane, flying with her to Atlanta, Georgia
- Social media has dubbed him the ‘clipboard man’ – expressing shock that he came so close to an infected patient and unprotected
As news helicopters swarmed over Dallas’ Love Field on Wednesday 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 slacks. 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. He then 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. US Media reports that the man is a supervisor for Phoenix Air, the company that flew Miss Vinson from Dallas to Atlanta. 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.
Members of the public watching were struck with disbelief at the man’s decision to throw caution to the wind. ‘He needs to be put on watch the second the plane lands so he does not infect anyone in Atlanta. This needs to be contained and I for one will be ticked of I hear a report next week that he is the next victim!’ Dean Pitts wrote on NBC Dallas’ website. Phoenix Air, which operates the special air ambulances that have also flown all five American Ebola patients from West African to the US, claimed the unprotected man actually made the process safer. ‘Our medical professionals in the biohazard suits have limited vision and mobility and it is the protocol supervisor’s job to watch each person carefully and give them verbal directions to insure no close contact protocols are violated,’ a Phoenix Air spokesman told ABC. ‘There is absolutely no problem with this and in fact insures an even higher level of safety for all involved.’
A CDC spokesman told KTVT that they didn’t think anything was wrong with the interaction since he ‘kept a safe distance’. Miss Vinson’s flight landed in Atlanta around 7:45pm Eastern Time. Social media was as equally impressed as they were dumbfounded by the man who has quickly become known as ‘clipboard man’ online. Dan Hevia said what many shocked viewers must have immediately thought when they saw the brave or foolhardy individual when he wrote, ‘I’d like to know who the dude with the clipboard is so I can avoid him. C’mon! Another incredulous witness was staggered, asking, ‘My infectious disease training may be a bit limited but fairly sure that clipboard isn’t Ebola proof.’ Others went straight to the heart of the matter, with Lib Media Exposed asking, ‘Who’s the idiot who thinks all the protection he needs from Ebola is a f******’ clipboard?’ Another Twitter user, Luke Murray pointed out that ‘clipboard man’ might be the recipient of a dubious prize, should the worst come to the worst. ‘So much for protocols,’ wrote Lurray. ‘Clipboard dude in the pic with nurse 2 is up for a Dawrin Award should something happen to him.’ The mystery man on the tarmac is just the latest questionable practice highlighted in the CDC’s handling of the Ebola outbreak in America, which started when Liberian patient Thomas Eric Duncan was initially turned away from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital last month after reporting a high fever.
The man with the clipboard is seen grabbing various objects from the hazmat team, raising questions about whether he could have been contaminated. Despite telling health care workers that he had recently returned from Liberia, he was not tested for Ebola, and was instead sent home with antibiotics. He returned home to his family’s apartment and continued to get worse over the next several days. It was only when he was taken to the hospital a second time, that time by ambulance, that medics discovered he had Ebola. And in the initial days of Duncan’s treatment, nurses at the Dallas hospital revealed that they were given ‘no protocols’ on how to dress when caring for the Ebola patient. That confusion led nurse Nina Pham, 26, to report to the hospital on Friday when she noticed a spike in her temperature. Just four days later, her co-worker Miss Vinson, became the second nurse at the hospital to contract the disease. The CDC is currently monitoring more than 75 health care workers at the hospital who came into contact with Duncan during his stay. He passed way from the disease last week.
The worsening Ebola problem led President Obama to abruptly cancel a planned campaign trip on Wednesday, deciding to meet with his Cabinet on the issue instead. Obama’s decision to nix the trip – just a few hours before Air Force One was scheduled to depart – reflected the urgency facing the administration amid the American public’s escalating concerns about potential spread of the virus.
Press secretary Josh Earnest said on Wednesday that Obama still had confidence in CDC Director Tom Frieden. However, the president admitted that Ebola needs to be fought in a ‘much more aggressive way’. ‘What we’ve been doing here is reviewing exactly what we know about what’s happened in Dallas,’ Obama said Wednesday, ‘and how we’re going to make sure that something like this is not repeated – and that we are monitoring, supervising, overseeing in a much more aggressive way exactly what has taken place in Dallas initially, and making sure that the lessons learned are then transmitted to hospitals and clinics all across the country.’ This comes as President Barack Obama pledged on Wednesday to approach new cases of the Ebola virus in a ‘much more aggressive way,’ signaling that his administration hasn’t already been doing all it can to slow the advance of the deadly contagion. As pressure grows on the administration to explain how it has failed to contain the disease in Texas, the president said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would launch a ‘rapid response SWAT team’ within 24 hours whenever a new case is confirmed.
The CDC team, he said, will ‘take local hospitals step by step through what needs to be done.’ Obama’s comments to the press came after a hastily called all-hands-on-deck cabinet meeting that lasted two hours and pre-empted a pair of planned political campaign appearances in New Jersey and Connecticut. The president’s promise to get more serious about Ebola mirrors a vow on Monday from CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden, who said his agency would ‘double down’ on disease surveillance and interventions.
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