700 People Notified by Atlanta Hospital: Possible Tuberculosis Exposure
When I started to research this news story, I was bombarded with many internet Target Pharmacy ads. They kept repeating words that they were here to answer my medical questions. I wondered if they could possibly answer why 700 people got letters from the Emory University Hospital in Atlanta Georgia this week.
Hospital representative Lance Skelly from the Georgia Department of Community Health said that over 680 former patients and approximately 100 medical staffers were exposed to tuberculosis between November and February of 2011. Thankfully to date, no one has notified the hospital of symptoms.
My mother had the disease in the early 1940’s. During this time, doctors sometimes removed a lung and then sent the patient to a sanitarium for years. They firmly believed fresh air, rest and good food would cure tuberculosis. When I was born in the 50’s not much had changed. I was given many tests and shots hoping I had not inherited the disease. Today, It still is a scary disease and must be alarming and upsetting when you receive a warning letter of possible exposure.
A former patient from the Atlanta Hospital who wished to remain anonymous was very concerned and so was his employer. He was told to leave work and not return until he got the all clear from a physician. The county hospitals could not test him until next week due to the Memorial Day holiday weekend, so he found himself returning to the Emory University Hospital. They complied with his wishes to be screened but told him another two to three weeks would not have mattered.
I realize that the rate of tuberculosis cases has been on the decline since 1993, but one can never be too careful. All it takes is one person around you to spread the symptoms of coughing or sneezing through the air and it can be fatal if not treated.