Ebola: What is it? Who is at risk?

Dr. Walters

Dr. Walters

Given the nature of the current Ebola virus outbreak in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea and the recent cases in the U.S., Botsford Hospital has been working to ensure we’re prepared for potential patients with Ebola. A board-certified emergency medicine specialist, David Walters, D.O., MHSA, Botsford Hospital’s vice president & chief clinical officer encourages you to read on and follow the links to increase your knowledge of this deadly disease.

What is Ebola?
Ebola is a rare and often deadly disease caused by infection with an Ebola virus – there are five strains. This current Ebola outbreak is the largest due to the nature of where it struck in three very impoverished countries with poor health care infrastructure and public health.

EbolaHow does someone get it?
Ebola is spread through direct contact through broken skin or mucus membranes with blood or bodily fluids, including but not limited to urine, saliva, feces and vomit of a person who is sick with Ebola. It also can be spread through direct contact with objects contaminated with the virus, such as needles or syringes. It is NOT spread through the air, like many other more common viruses are. A person is only contagious when symptomatic.

Who is at risk? Is there a danger of Ebola spreading in the U.S.?

Only people who have traveled to Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea in the last 21 days or have had close contact with someone who has traveled there and is symptomatic are at risk. The risk of it spreading in the U.S. is very low. We have a totally different context of health care in the U.S. compared to those in impoverished nations. We are much more prepared to handle any kind of suspected Ebola patient and prevent further contamination, given our strong health care system and the resources we have to contain these patients and properly isolate them.

What protocol does Botsford have in place?
As soon as any patient enters our Emergency Center, he or she goes through a screening process that includes answering four questions:

  1. Have you traveled to Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea within the last three weeks?
  2. Have you been exposed to anyone who traveled from Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea in the last three weeks?
  3. Do you have a fever?
  4. Do you have either severe diarrhea or vomited?

If the patient answers yes to those questions, the nurse places the patient immediately into isolation and alerts the physician and Botsford’s Infection Control Department.

Why is it important for staff to screen all patients?
There are so many different diseases people have now, such as common flu, and the symptoms are very similar. Many people come in with a fever or a cough, so we have to ask the question about travel since that’s what differentiates Ebola.

What can people do to reduce the risk of contracting the disease?
The best thing to do is avoid travel to these West African countries where the Ebola outbreak is occurring. If you do have to travel abroad, follow infection control prevention practices.

What should someone do if they have recently traveled to one of these regions and are experiencing symptoms?
Immediately go to a hospital or your local emergency room and notify a health care worker. If you are not symptomatic but have traveled recently or are in contact with someone who has traveled recently, monitor yourself for 21 days. If you develop symptoms, go to your local hospital immediately. Our primary goal is to identify and isolate suspect patients as early as possible to ensure we stop further transmission of Ebola. The biggest thing the public can do to help stop the spread of Ebola is communication.

The community should know that if they have not traveled to Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea in the last 21 days or been in contact with someone who has traveled to any of these three countries, they do not have Ebola even if they have any of the symptoms.

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My Remarkable Recovery from Traumatic Injuries

Spencer Smith, teacher in Detroit, MI - grauate of Ohio University's Honors Tutorial College

By Spencer Smith

A recent graduate of Ohio University’s Honors Tutorial College, Spencer Smith moved to Detroit for a career position with Teach for America. This young man was working as a teacher and making a difference at a public charter school in Detroit when he was involved in an auto accident that left him with massive traumatic injuries. His riveting story follows.  Continue reading

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Stepping Back. Finding a Better Way to Grow Old.

Stepping Back. Finding a Better Way to Grow Old.
By Bill Thomas, M.D.

We live in a time when enough is never quite enough. Our culture is out of balance. There is a profound and growing need for a slower, deeper and more connected approach to our lives, our work and our communities, especially as we grow older. I am part of a movement doing something to change all of this.

Life can and should be reimagined. New ways of living and working are waiting to be discovered on the far side of adulthood.

I am a physician, a writer and an author of “Second Wind: Navigating the Passage to a Slower, Deeper and More Connected Life,” a book that examines the baby boomer generation’s reluctant second coming of age. I am also currently visiting 25 cities, including the metropolitan Detroit and Ypsilanti areas, to offer audiences powerful insights into more deliberate ways of living and working through special live theater performances. Joining me is renowned consumer health expert and TV personality Dr. Janet Taylor and other national and local experts who are making a difference especially in the care of the elderly, including Diane Zide from Botsford Commons Senior Community and Jamey Baker from Community EMS/Parastar.

I invite you to attend one of the Second Wind Tour stops in Michigan. The half-day performances will be held at the Royal Oak Music Theater in Royal Oak on Wednesday, May 7, and in Ypsilanti at Pease Auditorium at Eastern Michigan University on Thursday, May 8. Both presentations run from 1 to 5 p.m. and are free and open to the public. To attend, register at secondwindtour.org.

I have been influencing change in the care of the elderly for many years by promoting change in medicine and society. I am the founder of a radical approach to long-term care that is coming to Detroit through Presbyterian Village of Michigan and the Green House Project this year in downtown on the Detroit riverfront. I am also assisting Botsford Health Care to transform acute care services for the elderly through a unique TeleMed program with Community EMS, Botsford Hospital, Botsford Commons Senior Living Community and other area nursing care facilities. A future project with Community EMS to redesign emergency transportation vehicles to be more user-friendly to the elderly is also in the works.

I am most grateful to the coalition of national and local sponsors who share my vision for helping people. Local sponsors are Botsford Health Care, including Botsford Hospital, Botsford Commons Senior Community and Community EMS, as well as Presbyterian Villages of Michigan. National sponsors include AARP, Merrill Lynch and Capital Impact Partners.

I hope you’ll join me in a deeper investigation of life and living that can reveal the hidden virtues of age. Outgrowing adulthood is worthwhile, because it can lead us toward slower, deeper and more connected ways of living.

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The Botsford Breast Center – CBS EcoMedia Partnership

Thirty-six uninsured and underinsured women came to Botsford’s Lucille and Dr. Louis Spagnuolo Breast Center for mammograms at our fourth annual Breast Screening Day. CBS EcoMedia Inc. funded our event as the lead sponsor. 

Watch a great video here from CBS EcoMedia narrated by The Botsford Foundation’s Executive Director Margo Gorchow. Continue reading

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The Angel Pillow Project

Forty unique pillows, made by volunteers from the Angel Pillow Project, were donated to Botsford Cancer Center for breast cancer patients.

Forty unique pillows, made by volunteers from the Angel Pillow Project, were donated to Botsford Cancer Center for breast cancer patients.

When Sabrina Mayhew was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011, she was confident doctors would care for her medical needs, but she knew that with such a diagnosis also comes emotional pain. While recovering from a double mastectomy, someone gave her a heart-shaped pillow.

Continue reading

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Making A Difference Brings Joy to Botsford Employees


Cassie Wedlick with her grandparents Vera and Michael Manchizh

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1803-1882, American essayist, poet, and leader of the Transcendentalist movement in the early nineteenth century

Several weeks ago, a coworker-friend stopped by my office at Botsford Hospital to ask if I knew anyone who had an extra bed not being used. Her friend lost her job and was living in her daughter’s basement, where the high humidity ruined her mattress. She had to discard the bed since it would have been unsafe to sleep on it. Afterward, this woman began sleeping on the floor. Continue reading

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Nurse’s Generosity Swayed Patient to Take Lifesaving Medication


Lori Mesko, RN

I want to share a special story about Lori Mesko, RN, who works on Botsford Hospital’s 2 South Progressive Care Unit. Sometimes nurses don’t get recognized for all they do. I want to make sure Lori does, because she gave very special care to my mom, who has been having a very rough time recently.

Mom’s potassium level was dangerously high, which, if untreated, could have caused her heart to stop beating. The physician prescribed a huge glass of medicine for Mom to drink. But, she just did not want to take any nourishment just then. Lori needed to find a way to convince Mom to accept the treatment. Continue reading

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Botsford Cancer Center Offers National Clinical Trials to Patients


Botsford Cancer Center in Farmington Hills

Of course you wouldn’t want to receive a diagnosis of cancer from your physician. It would be an overwhelming time of new terms, tests, procedures and treatment to face in the weeks, months and years to come. You might even be approached by your physician during the workup about participating in a clinical trial and wonder if this would be the right choice for you. Continue reading

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Celebrate World Diabetes Day Nov. 14 at Botsford

celebrate-world-diabetes-day-nov14Thirty years ago, about 30 million people were living with diabetes. Today, this number has multiplied more than ten times to 371 million worldwide. An additional 280 million people are at high risk of developing the disease. Furthermore, by 2030, this number could exceed half a billion people (www.idf.org). Continue reading

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Cancer Patients Go Green! For Health

Cancer Patients Go Green!Pssst… thankfully, you don’t have to have cancer to reap solid nutritional advice from this blog post.

The meaning of Go Green! changes from person to person.

  • A fan of Michigan State University chants Go Green! and waits for the crowd’s response of Go White! at football games.
  • An environmentalist says Go Green! to encourage us to reduce our carbon footprint.
  • A registered dietitian coaches patients at Botsford Cancer Center to Go Green! for the health benefits.

Continue reading

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