At around eight in the morning a man called 911 for transport to the emergency room. He had been vomiting, had diarrhea, fever and aches and pains.Â â€œUse universal precautionsâ€ we were advised by dispatch.
The patient sat in a wheelchair, barely able to use his sleeve to wipe the snot that flowed freely from his nose. He was unable to communicate with words, but it was clear that he was sick, and that he would die. He was twenty-four.
The wheelchair wouldnâ€™t fit through the doorway of his cramped north end apartment. We had to lift him, and carry him out, and place him on our stretcher. I leaned over the chair, grabbed his upper arms with my gloved hands while my partner got his feet and lifted all 100 pounds of him from his chair and out the door. He had been sitting in his own feces and what his threadbare underwear couldnâ€™t contain spilled onto the floor. I did my best to avoid it as we walked, his skin touching my own as his sweat-covered body twisted and convulsed, and the top of the gloves and bottom of my sleeve separated and allowed contact. There was some paperwork on a table, and some needles, and a bag of heroin. I took the paperwork and left the rest.
He needed an IV.
I needed some soul searching.
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The Ebola Virus:
Ebola spreads in the community through human-to-human transmission, with infection resulting from direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes) with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected people, and indirect contact with environments contaminated with such fluids.
Source:Â The WHO (World Health Organization)