No threat yet, but Louisville's VA Hospital assembling team to t - WDRB 41 Louisville News

No threat yet, but Louisville's VA Hospital assembling team to treat Ebola patients

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- There has been absolutely no threat from the Ebola virus here in Louisville, but one local hospital is preparing for the worst.

The Robley Rex VA Medical Center is taking steps to deal with any possible threat.

The Medical Center treats patients who travel all over the world. That is why it is now assembling a special team to treat Ebola patients.

"The team is composed of nurses, doctors, and support staff that would be called to assist the Medical Center in managing a patient that would be suspected of Ebola exposure," the Medical Center's Interim Director Dr. Marylee Rothschild told WDRB News..

The team will be equipped with protective gear, and the hospital is setting aside isolation rooms.

"It's coming together. We're in process. We're not quite there yet, but we're working on it very aggressively," said Rothschild.

The Medical Center is also changing its triage, or screening, process. Staff will now ask all incoming patients about recent travel.

"It's a key element of identifying those patients early - have you traveled to affected countries? So, that's one of the key questions that we've added to the triage process," said Rothschild.

Rothschild briefed state lawmakers about the new Ebola unit during a meeting at the hospital of the Veterans, Military Affairs and Public Protection committee.

The committee chairman says it's a wise move, especially since 60 Kentucky National Guard troops have been sent to Africa to help deal with the Ebola crisis.

"They are in the heart of where the Ebola outbreak is, so when they come back to Kentucky, we need to be prepared for them," said Sen. Jimmy Higdon (R-Lebanon).

The hospital is preparing to deal with the unthinkable and still unlikely.

"The risk is low of having anyone come here with the disease, but the downside of missing them is high. So, we want to be comprehensive," said Rothschild.

The Medical Center is moving quickly on this. The team should be ready within two weeks.

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