Ebola’s Risky Business

Who’s Up for the Job?

In late 2014, an ebola outbreak occurred in concentrated communities in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria, and Senegal. Thomas Eric Duncan was a Liberian visiting family in Dallas Texas when his health started to deteriorate. He was experiencing flu-like symptoms but neglected to discuss his recent travels from Africa until he was admitted.

Proper ebola protocol had not been followed since initial contact with Mr. Duncan. Once diagnosed, he was moved to an isolated intensive care unit, where his health started to take a turn for the worse. After confirming his diagnosis with a public conference with the CDC, Mr. Duncan was barely clinging to life. By this time other patients from the hospital had been evacuated and the hospital was on strict lockdown. On October 8th, Mr. Duncan had passed away and the media quickly declared a severe outbreak could occur given the unkown previous whereabouts of Mr. Duncan prior to visiting Texas Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. What followed was country-wide panic and questioning of the CDC’s protocol when dealing with Ebola. Most, if not all businesses and insurance companies were scrambling to setup protocols to deal with the virus in a worse case scenario.

As the outbreak continued in West Africa, many volunteer doctors and nurses went overseas to provide whatever care possible to infected villages and families. One of those volunteers was Dr. Craig Spencer from New York City. Dr. Spencer’s involved in Doctor’s without borders, whom provides medical care to countries where there is none. He had been in direct contact with patients suffering from the ebola virus. When he returned back to New York it wasn’t until a week later he began to experience flu-like symptoms. He immediately checked into Bellevue hospital where he was confirmed as having the ebola virus. The media quickly picked up the news and again began to question the CDC’s protocol given Dr. Spencer had visited several locations throughout the city before checking himself into the hospital. New York City officials were now responsible for assuring the public that no further cases would occur.

Bio Recovery was contacted by New York City officials to remediate and disinfect locations previously visited by Dr. Spencer. Chief safety officer of the company Salvatore Pain quickly sprang into action to tackle the problem. At this time still, no protocols had been specifically designated to deal with such a virus. Most insurance companies would not cover anyone infected of involved with ebola. Other Bio-hazardous companies were contacted but were reluctant to accept the job. Bio Recovery was now solely responsible in assuring the job would be done properly and safely. The day of the cleaning, the media was already in a frenzy outside of Dr. Spencer’s apartment. Photos and video of the process were immediately uploaded to social media sites as well as major news networks. It was an intimidating job to say the least, but Bio Recovery’s certified technicians were confident in the level A protection suits they would be using. Level A suits insure the highest level of protection against the even the deadliest of infectious diseases. At the time, the CDC stated that only a level C suit would be suitable against the ebola virus, Bio Recovery went above and beyond the CDC’s statement by using level A suits. The apartment was later deemed successfully performed as well as “The Gutter” bowling alley in Brooklyn, where Dr. Spencer also visited before the hospital. Bio Recovery had taken the proper steps necessary and establishing a protocol that other companies could follow in future cases.

In a city where social media trends daily and the media scrutinizes every aspect of a situation, Bio Recovery had come under fire from specific news outlets outlining the negative and hastened process of the cleanup. What they failed to realize is when other Bio companies said no to the job, Bio Recovery said yes to the daunting task. In the end, New York officials were happy with jobs performed and no further cases of ebola have surfaced since.