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A man walks into an ED…
  1. Ellen J Weber
  1. Correspondence to Dr Ellen J Weber, Emergency Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94143-0208, USA; ellen.weber{at}ucsf.edu

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…in Dallas, Texas. He has some respiratory symptoms. He tells a nurse (not clear which nurse) that he's come from Sierra Leone recently. A doctor sees him. The doctor does not get this history. The patient is sent home on antibiotics. Three days later he is diagnosed with Ebola.

Thirteen years after 9/11, despite an reinvigorated disaster preparedness programme which sees US hospitals drilling every few months in tents and portable showers magically appearing for a day in hospital parking lots, volunteers donning personal protective equipment (PPE), and fake victims lining up for care after a (choose: earthquake, bomb, toxin release in the subway), the first US case of Ebola simply walked into an emergency department (ED), was not isolated, and was sent home.

The hospital that allowed this happen, and, as of this writing, has two new cases of Ebola in nurses on its …

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