Ebola and Other Stories Worth Coverage

The following is an excerpt from Navigant Healthcare’s Pulse Weekly. Click here for a complete copy of this week’s article. .

The tragic death of Thomas Eric Duncan and growing fear about the Ebola virus has captured headlines for three weeks. As of Sunday, 4,033 West Africans have died from the incurable virus, and confirmed cases are being treated in Spain, Texas and Nebraska.

Amidst the avalanche of media coverage, there are other stories that haven’t gotten as much attention...

  • Like the circumstances under which Duncan presented September 26 at the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital emergency room, and again September 28. The Liberian citizen was not refused treatment because he had no insurance: he was treated without regard to payment. Hospitals treat patients everyday who present with limited medical history and no insurance: they’re the front line of public health every day. And the caregivers in our emergency rooms are exposed to enormous risk. It’s worth coverage.
  • Like the heroics of so many U.S. doctors and nurses who have volunteered to serve at Ground Zero in West Africa through groups like Doctors Without Borders, the Christian Medical Dental Society and others, and the 3,000 U.S. troops scrambling to set up makeshift hospitals and clinics in West Africa. At the end of the day, medical professionals and those in our armed services deserve credit for acts of compassion that don’t get deserved media attention. It’s worth coverage.
  • Like the CDC, that issued 7 Health Alerts about the spread of the virus since July 28 including this one on August 1: “CDC recommends testing for all persons with onset of fever within 21 days of having a high-risk exposure.” And the 14 Emergency Operations Center (EOC) teams activated August 13. Public health and global preparedness is tough: how the CDC and state public health agencies collaborate to protect us at home and millions abroad is a story that deserves coverage. And, how the CDC, Homeland Security, the Departments of Health and Human Services and Defense are engaged together in this global challenge.
  • Like Chimerix (CMRX), the maker of the experimental drug brincidofovir used to treat Duncan and American journalist Ashoka Mukpo. The company’s stock dropped 12% to $29.21 after Duncan’s death in Dallas. What’s the story of Chimerix - how much capital has its investors bet on this drug? What is the company’s future? And if the drug proves safe and effective after completion of its clinical trials, how will Ebola patients around the world benefit from its release for wider use? It deserves coverage.

Ebola is scary: for 3 weeks, it has dominated the news and deservedly so. But as journalists consider its coverage, I hope we’ll see stories, like the above, get attention. 

Paul

Sources: “Texas Healthcare Worker Tests Positive for Ebola,” NBC News, October 12, 2014; Jolie Lee, “Ebola virus: What you need to know about the deadly outbreak,” USA Today, October 1, 2014; Susannah Cullinane and Nick Thompson, “Deadliest outbreak of Ebola virus: What you need to know,” CNN, September 18, 2014; Helene Cooper, “Amid Ebola Crisis, Liberian Army Sees Its Chance at Rebranding,” New York Times, October 11, 2014;  Kevin Sieff, “Liberia already had only a few dozen of its own doctors. Then came Ebola,” Washington Post, October 11, 2014; Elahe Izadi , “Texas hospital responds to questions over treatment of Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan,” Washington Post, October 9, 2014; CDC Health Advisory: Guidelines for Evaluation of US Patients Suspected of Having Ebola Virus Disease, CDCHAN-00364, August 1, 2014; Alexandra Sifferlin, “Inside the CDC’s Emergency Operations Center Tackling Ebola,” Time, August 9, 2014; Andrew Khouri, “Ebola drug maker Chimerix's stock tumbles after Dallas patient dies,” Los Angeles Times, October 8, 2014; “2014 Ebola Outbreak in West Africa,” CDC.gov; Kathleen Caulderwood , “Experimental Ebola Drug-Maker Chimerix Stock Falls After Dallas Ebola Patient Die,” International Business Times, October 8, 2014

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Navigant Consulting, Inc. The information contained in this article is a summary and reflects current impressions based on industry data and news available at the time of publication. Any predictions and expectations noted herein are inherently uncertain and actual results may differ materially from those contained in this article. Navigant undertakes no obligation to update any of the information contained in the article.

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