Emory Hospital CEO: Moral obligation to treat American Ebola patients

Despite the controversy over whether two Americans who contracted Ebola while working in Liberia should receive treatment in the United States, the CEO of Emory University Hospital told WSB-TV Atlanta that there was no question that the facility would accept them.

"These were medical missionaries who put themselves on the line. American, medical missionaries. We just felt a moral obligation to do the right thing," Bob Bachman told the television station. "There was not a nanosecond of hesitation. When the call came in we just simply said 'yes' and 'when.'"

His biggest concern, he said, was dealing with the media and misinformation about Ebola. "While Ebola is very contagious, it is not spread by droplet or air, it has to be human contact," Bachman said. "We are absolutely confident that our policies, our procedures, our structure, our containment unit are such that the virus will not get out into the rest of the hospital or anywhere else."

The husband of one of the patients was quarantined this week. He showed no symptoms of the disease and officials said the quarantine is just a precaution, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Last week the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the Ebola outbreak an international health emergency that requires a coordinated global approach. So far there are 1,070 confirmed cases of Ebola and 932 of those people died. In addition, the WHO reports an additional 436 probable cases and 205 suspected cases.

Meanwhile, this week the WHO approved the use of unproven drugs to combat the deadly virus, according to USA Today. The two American workers treated at Emorty also received the experimental drug. Although they are showing signs of improvement, WHO officials said they don't know if it is directly tied to the use of the drugs.

If Ebola arrives in the U.S., quarantine is a primary tool for preventing further spread, according to Forbes. However, author Scott Gottlieb warned that the government must consider whether widespread quarantine is effective or practical.

"If some cases of Ebola emerge during flu season, for example, efforts to quarantine those suspected of having Ebola could be challenged by the fact that the initial symptoms of that virus can mimic the onset of ordinary influenza," he wrote.

To learn more:
- read the WSB-TV Atlanta article
- here's the story from the LA Times
- check out USA Today's coverage
- read the Forbes article