Ebola & Patients

How The University of Tennessee Medical Center is Keeping Patients, Visitors and Caregivers Safe

The health and safety of patients at ut medical center is our first and foremost priority.

No matter what illnesses we are treating at the medical center, we have in place all the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of our patients and caregivers – whether you or your family come for an office visit, hospitalization or to see someone else on our campus. 

Latest News
  • As of November 17 people arriving in the United States from the country of Mali, where four cases of Ebola have been confirmed and hundreds of contacts are being monitored, are now subject to enhanced U.S. airport screening and 21-day monitoring for symptoms. The measures for the 15-20 travelers who arrive each day from Mali are the same as those already in place for travelers arriving from Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.
  • The University of Tennessee Medical Center does not currently have any diagnosed patients with Ebola.
  • It is safe for all patients to come to the medical center for their care, and it is safe for visitors and families.
  • On campus, there are signs with highlighted maps of Africa posted around the hospital, urging patients who have symptoms and have travelled to the affected African countries to notify personnel immediately. 
  • Doctors also have carts stocked with protective gear, and a buddy system is in place for hospital workers treating potential patients to ensure they wear proper protective gear and follow all safety protocols.
  • The medical center has an Ebola team assembled which includes infection prevention and other core personnel to stay current on all Ebola safety guidelines and ensuring the hospital protocol follows the latest CDC recommendations. 

Treating Complex Illnesses

The University of Tennessee Medical Center is known for its comprehensive training and preparedness as well as its capabilities to care for complex and contagious illnesses in very fragile patients. Its facilities and specially trained team members helps ensure the care and safely for a patient who may be infected with Ebola (or any other infectious disease), while also keeping team members, patients and other visitors safe from infection.

What We are Doing to Keep Patients Safe

Screening of patients

  • The screening asks if they have traveled to the four West African countries--Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Mali-- where Ebola is prevalent and if they have any of a list of symptoms of Ebola.
  • If patients meet the criteria, the medical center is screening patients for possible exposure to Ebola, both when they call to make an appointment and when they arrive for an appointment.
  • Patients who answer yes to both questions will be escorted to the emergency room at the medical center (if they are here for an appointment) or advised to visit the emergency room nearest to them (if they are calling) so they can be diagnosed and an infection prevention team is waiting for them.

A Core Care Team

  • A core care team has been assembled to take care of any Ebola patients. They are being trained in advanced techniques to protect against becoming infected with the virus and will provide any needed care for a patient infected with Ebola.
  • In order to further minimize the chance that the virus is spread, the team members will not provide care for any other patients as long as their Ebola patient remains at the medical center.

An Isolation Unit Separated From Other Critical Care Beds

  • The medical center has constructed a special isolation unit with two beds in its medical intensive care unit.
  • While Ebola is not transmitted through the air, the rooms are equipped with negative pressure airflow, which directs air from the rooms to prevent it from circulating in the hospital.
  • Any Ebola patients who receives care at the medical center will remain in this special unit.
  • An anteroom immediately adjacent to the patient rooms provides space for care team members to carefully and safely put on and remove personal protective equipment that will guard against them becoming infected.

Please keep in mind that unlike other infectious diseases that the medical center treats routinely, such as flu, Ebola does not spread easily from one person to another.

If you have any questions or concerns about The University of Tennessee Medical Center's ability to provide you with care safely, please discuss them with your doctor or contact our patient relations department at (865) 305-6845.

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