Willis-Knighton CEO Jim Elrod said he is proposing a central location to handle any highly infectious and dangerous diseases, such as Ebola, for Shreveport-Bossier.
Elrod told the North Shreveport Business Association Tuesday that he is working with WK officials and infection control physicians as well as DHH coordinators to create a facility to provide training, treatment and security.
“This is not a minor thing…This is serious. It’s in the works right now,” said Elrod.
He mentioned that the Christus Schumpert St. Mary’s campus would be the ideal location for such a hospital. Currently, that facility is planned to house inpatient rehab, cancer therapy, radiology, PET imaging, nutritional services until November 2015.
He said the “sensible” option is to have one location used by every local health care facility with trained staff and security.
“You’ll need security because you want some people getting out and some people staying in,” said Elrod.
He said his timeline for bringing this to fruition is “pretty fast.”
“I do not believe every hospital in America can become an ebola specialist treatment center,” Elrod explained. “Any hospital where (Ebola patients) show up, people want to get away from them. And you don’t blame them.”
This news comes on the heels that a second person has been confirmed to have contracted Ebola in the Dallas area after Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian man, was visiting the country when he showed signs of illness and died from the disease.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is advising to have a dedicated hospital in every state that would treat Ebola infections. Currently, only four U.S. hospitals have specialized biocontainment units of the order needed to treat diseases such as Ebola. Those are Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, the University of Nebraska Medical Center, and St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula, Montana.
Tom Pace, executive editor and radio host of “Talk of the Town” The Promise 90.7 FM, contributed to this story