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Thread: Lawmaker claims plans may be in pipeline to bring non-citizens to US for Ebola treatm

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  1. #1
    Super Moderator Newmexican's Avatar
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    May 2005
    Heart of Dixie

    Lawmaker claims plans may be in pipeline to bring non-citizens to US for Ebola treatm

    Lawmaker claims plans may be in pipeline to bring non-citizens to US for Ebola treatment

    Published October 28,


    A top Republican congressman claims the Obama administration is exploring plans to bring non-U.S. citizens infected with Ebola to the United States for treatment.

    Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, told Fox News that his office has received "information from within the administration" that these plans are being developed. So far, only American Ebola patients have been brought back to the U.S. for treatment from the disease epicenter in West Africa.

    Goodlatte warned that expanding that policy could put the country at more risk.

    "Members of the media, my office have received confidential communications saying that those plans are being developed," Goodlatte said Monday night.

    "This is simply a matter of common sense that if you are concerned about this problem spreading -- and this is a deadly disease that we're even concerned about the great health care workers when they come back not spreading it -- we certainly shouldn't be bringing in the patients."

    The chairman wrote a letter last week to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Secretary of State John Kerry asking whether such plans exist, but he says he has not gotten a response.

    The details are sketchy, if such a plan even exists.

    A Goodlatte aide told that "someone in one of the agencies" contacted their office with the tip -- presumably, the plan would apply to non-U.S. residents. Who would pay for the transport and treatment is an open question.

    In his letter last week, Goodlatte asked whether the administration is formulating such a plan, seeking details and communications among their employees.

    The conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch also reported, shortly before Goodlatte sent the letter, that the administration is "actively formulating" plans to bring Ebola patients into the U.S., with the specific goal of treating them "within the first days of diagnosis."

    Goodlatte earlier had pushed the president to consider using his authority to impose a temporary ban on non-U.S. citizen travel to the United States from the three African countries hardest-hit by Ebola.

    "We think, again, that's just plain common sense, a practical way to stop this disease from spreading," he said.
    The Obama administration has pushed back on those calls, saying the most effective approach is to stop Ebola at its source in West Africa.

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  2. #2
    Super Moderator Newmexican's Avatar
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    Pentagon builds units to transport Ebola patients

    Gregg Zoroya, USA TODAY11:55 a.m. EDT October 26, 2014

    <font color="#999999"><em>

    The grey and black jet has become a familiar sight. Now, take a look inside this specially-modified jet that transports Ebola-infected patients. VPC

    (Photo: Phoenix Air)

    As more U.S. troops head to West Africa, the Pentagon is developing portable isolation units that can carry up to 12 Ebola patients for transport on military planes.

    The Pentagon says it does not expect it will need the units for 3,000 U.S. troops heading to the region to combat the virus because military personnel will not be treating Ebola patients directly. Instead, the troops are focusing on building clinics, training personnel and testing patient blood samples for Ebola.

    "We want to be prepared to care for the people we do have there just out of an abundance of caution," Defense Department spokeswoman Jennifer Elzea said.

    She said prototypes would be tested in the next month before being deployed in the field by January.

    Currently, transport of Ebola patients from overseas is done by Phoenix Air, a government contractor based in Georgia whose modified business jet is capable of carrying just a single patient.

    The Pentagon's transportation system will allow the Air Force to use C-17 or C-130 transport planes to carry up to eight patients on stretchers or 12 patients who are able to walk, said Charles Bass, a Defense Department chemical engineer working on the project. Elzea said the cost of the units couldn't be provided as the final contract for the project is still under negotiation.

    Bass, a former Army officer, said the units are key to providing peace of mind to U.S. troops in Africa.

    "It's important when you're on deployment that you feel that someone has your back," he said. "(It) adds confidence to the people who are deployed."

    Phoenix Air, which currently offers the only medically approved means of carrying Ebola patients at a cost of $200,000 a flight, has flown more than a dozen missions since late July, said Dent Thompson, company vice president of operations.

    That includes flights carrying three people infected with Ebola — physician Kent Brantly, missionary Nancy Writebol and cameraman Ashoka Mukpo — from Africa to the United States. The company also has carried other patients or those exposed to the virus to Europe and within the USA, Thompson added.

    Phoenix Air handles emergency Ebola flights, including for the U.S. military, through a contract with the U.S. State Department. Non-governmental groups seeking the service reimburse the U.S. government for Phoenix Air services, Thompson said.

    The Pentagon isolation units will be similar but smaller than the ones used by Phoenix Air. Those units, created four years ago, were developed in response to emerging diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory System.

    The containment system is a tent-like structure held up by a metal framework within the jet. The single patient is attended to by a doctor and two nurses in flight, Thompson said.

    In addition to being able to hold more patients, the Pentagon units will also be set up on pallets that can be rolled onto the military aircraft. The patients will be divided between two isolation units, and a third connected structure will allow medical personnel leaving the units to remove potentially contaminated protective gear, Bass said.

    The toughest part of any Ebola transport mission is decontamination after each flight, Thompson said. Phoenix Air uses a complex process of fogging and spraying toxic disinfectant inside the module before removing and incinerating it. Similar procedures will be used for the military's larger isolation units under development, Bass said.
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