Deadly Disappointment Awaits At Ebola Clinics Due To Lack Of Space

Drew Hinshaw | The Wall Street Journal | September 7, 2014

Sick Patients Are Turned Away; At Least 1,515 Hospital Beds Needed in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea

...Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea—the three nations bearing the brunt of the outbreak—need at least 1,515 hospital beds for the more than 20,000 people who could be infected before the outbreak can be curtailed, according to World Health Organization estimates. At present, there are only a few hundred beds. International support has been slow to come and is just beginning to address this specific problem, with the U.S. promising 1,000 additional beds in a new aid package.  The shortage is so dire that ambulances have picked up people raging with the symptoms of Ebola, driven them around for hours, then dropped them back at home, medical workers say.

The odds of surviving Ebola at home, without intravenous hydration, are slim. Along the way, the sick often infect their families. That is creating ever more Ebola patients arriving at the gates of overcrowded clinics.  Some, like Mr. Mulbon, collect a bag of sanitary products and painkillers. His daughter, the mother of two boys, died within hours of receiving it. "She was helpless," Mr. Mulbon said.

Health workers complain they can't throw down mattresses fast enough. Some organizations, including Doctors Without Borders, are asking Europe and the U.S. to send disaster relief—even military personnel—to help West Africa get ahead of an Ebola epidemic that has been under way since December.  "Many months into an Ebola outbreak, we're in the position of turning away patients who look like they have Ebola," said Henry Grey, a Doctors Without Borders emergency coordinator. "That's an indication of the direct failure of the international community."...