WESTWOOD—UCLA’s Ronald Reagan Medical Center, along with the University of California’s four other medical centers, including UC Irvine Medical Center and UC San Diego Medical Center, were selected by the California Department of Public Health as priority hospitals for the treatment of Ebola, if such a case should occur within the state.

Dr. Zachary Rubin, associate clinical professor of infectious diseases and medical director of clinical epidemiology and infection prevention at Ronald Reagan Medical Center wrote in a news release that, “We are trained and believe we are prepared to care for such patients, and that includes doing everything we can to ensure the health and safety of all of our patients, faculty and staff, and the community.”

Dr. Robert Cherry, UCLA Health System’s chief medical and quality officer adds, “We have a designated Ebola response team composed of experts from infection prevention, emergency preparedness, nursing, safety, the clinical laboratory, and other areas who are meeting regularly to update our comprehensive plan.”

On October 17, the Ronald Reagan Medical Center conducted an exercise in which the hospital treated a mock Ebola patient. According to the medical center, “Emergency department nursing staff led the patient through an outside entrance into an isolation room in the emergency department. The medical team then admitted the patient directly to a specially designated and prepared room in the hospital.”

The medical center’s Ebola protocol includes identifying the patient, disposing of any waste, designating equipment such as X-ray machines for Ebola patient use only, constructing a mobile laboratory, operating specialized personal protective equipment and training staff.

Oren Shechter, an interning Care Extender at the Saperstein Emergency Department in the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, spoke with Canyon News about the medical center’s Ebola preparedness. He mentioned that Silva Thomas, the director of the internship program, reassured her staff that “Emory and Nebraska have been successful in taking care of their patients while protecting their staff; UCLA will follow the same protocols.”

UCLA currently has the capacity to treat a maximum of two patients with Ebola. The medical centers in Irvine, Davis and San Diego can each treat one patient. Should more Ebola cases arise, other California hospitals are equipped to treat the virus as well.

William Dunne, administrative director of UCLA Health System’s Emergency Preparedness, Safety and Security Services, noted that every hospital has a standard protocol and the appropriate supplies and equipment in place to care for patients with Ebola. He stated in a news release, “ California hospitals prepare for all types of emergencies every day in order to provide necessary care for their patients and the communities they serve…”

For more information and updates about UCLA Health’s Ebola preparations, visit www.uclahealth.org/ebola.