Tuesday, September 30, 2014

At least it's not Ebola

That's what I said to myself today when I was feeling miserable with my cold, or whatever I had. I actually said that to myself. Not imagining that this evening I would see the news that America has its first Ebola patient. I knew it would happen eventually, just not now.

I almost called out sick today- but after a long, hot shower I felt so much better I went in. But I'm not sure it was the right decision, I was feeling pretty bad by later in the day- but no coughing or sneezing on patients- I only sneezed once. I just had to keep running to the bathroom to wipe my nose or blow my nose. And of course lots of hand washing and purell. But I was really miserable.

A lot of people are sick at the hospital. And they are getting flu patients already. From what I hear, they are going to enforce the flu vaccine mandate this year. The only exceptions will be medical- per CDC- or religious- with a note from some kind of priest.

I don't really think there should be religious exemptions. It gives people with a religious objection an advantage over people with non-religious, yet deeply held objections. So if your religion tells you that you can't eat any animal products- well, there are atheist vegans too. But they would have to get the vaccine. And I don't know what other religious objections there are, unless you worship the devil. Does your religion tell you that you should get sick and infect your patients? If you think that the vaccine doesn't work or is bad for you, well, there are a lot of non-religious people who think that too. That is not a uniquely religious objection.

We might lose some staff over this. There is no good evidence showing that vaccinating the staff reduces flu in patients in long term care facilities (and you would be less likely to demonstrate the effect in the hospital because length of stay is so short that by the time the patient gets the flu, they have been discharged). But maybe it has some small effect. And it makes the hospital look good to Medicare.

I hope I feel well enough to go in to work tomorrow. So much to do. So much that didn't get done today- I just survived. Sometimes that is all that you can do.

No comments: