When Haz-Tac EMS Paramedic Winsley Julien first got the call on October 23, 2014, that a patient in Hamilton Heights very likely had Ebola, the 15-year EMS veteran said he started to get a little nervous. “I took a deep breath, but then I knew we had the suits, so I would be okay,” he said. Paramedic Julien had been on previous runs where it was thought the patient might have Ebola, but actually was afflicted with something else. This initial New York City case of Ebola was a doctor who had been in Guinea treating patients through Doctors Without Borders and called 911, stating that he had a fever of 100.3 degrees and recently had been exposed to the virus in Africa.
“My heart was racing, but then I donned my personal protective equipment- -a TyChem-F suit and Powered Air Purifying Respirator (PAPR), relied on my training and knew I was protected,” Paramedic Julien remembered. “The patient was very nice to us once we arrived at his apartment and wanted to make sure he didn’t further expose his fiancée and neighbors.” Paramedic Julien and his partner took the patient down the steps of the apartment building in a stair-chair and into the ambulance, while ensuring that everyone stayed back. Everything in the ambulance already was sealed by this point, so he secured the patient on the stretcher and administered supplemental oxygen. “We just tried to keep him isolated and make sure we kept everything enclosed so nothing was exposed,” he explained. NYC’s first Ebola patient arrived at Bellevue Hospital Center properly isolated and was handed off to medical personnel there.
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