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Nurses union: This has been a 'nightmare'

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Posted at 12:15 PM, Oct 15, 2014
and last updated 2014-10-15 20:02:36-04

National Nurses United executive director RoseAnn DeMoro did not hold back in assessing the nation's response to Ebola. 

"This month has been a nightmare, frankly, for nurses across the nation," DeMoro said in a conference call for registered nurses Wednesday.

National Nurses United lambasted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the White House for not having better protocols, better equipment and more education for nurses. Earlier Wednesday, a second Dallas health worker was reported to have Ebola. 

Both health workers reportedly treated Thomas Eric Duncan, who died of Ebola on Oct. 8 after coming to the United States from Liberia. 

The second Dallas health worker infected with Ebola flew into and out of Cleveland Hopkins International Airport

The union released a blog post on Wednesday detailing what happened the day Duncan arrived at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital. The post stated Duncan was left for several hours in an area with other patients as well and that the first nurses to interact with Duncan did not have protective gear. The post used anonymous sources. 

"We take compliance very seriously," hospital spokesman Wendell Watson said according to CNN. "We have numerous measures in place to provide a safe working environment, including mandatory annual training and a 24-7 hotline and other mechanisms that allow for anonymous reporting."

The union also sent a letter to President Barack Obama to "invoke his executive authority" to order hospitals to improve the safety for hospital workers. 

“Sadly, the problems expressed by the heroic Texas Health Presbyterian (registered nurses) was predictable in our fragmented, uncoordinated private healthcare system, and it mirrors concerns we’ve heard from nurses across the U.S.,” DeMoro said.

Obama addressed the nation Wednesday saying he is confident the United States can prevent a serious outbreak. Obama said the government is taking the matter very seriously. 

DeMoro said hospitals need to provide better equipment and have better preparation to protect nurses. 

"We've been lied to in terms of the preparation of the hospitals," DeMoro said. 

On the call, registered nurses from around the country reported fear from a lack of training and inefficient equipment at their respective hospitals. 

The union released a study Tuesday showing that 85 percent of registered nurses surveyed said their hospital did not provide education on Ebola with the opportunity for nurses to interact and ask questions. According to the union, 2,300 registered nurses took the survey. 

DeMoro said without better policies, nurses are being put at risk. Dallas nurse Nina Pham is being treated for Ebola in Dallas at this time, while the second nurse is being transferred to the special bio-containment unit at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, CDC Director Tom Frieden said according to the Associated Press

Pham is reportedly in good condition. 

"We need help," DeMoro said.