MERS patient in US sat in busy ER for hours
The second US patient to be diagnosed with the deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) spent at least four hours in the waiting room of the emergency department before he was seen by a doctor, a hospital official said.
And almost eight more hours passed before the patient was moved to an isolation room, the hospital's chief quality control officer said.
Dr. Antonio Crespo of Orlando's Dr. P. Phillips Hospital told Reuters that procedures in the emergency department had been changed as of Tuesday so that patients with flu-like symptoms will be asked whether they traveled to countries experiencing MERS outbreaks.
The patient in question had traveled from Saudi Arabia, where he worked at a hospital.
The extended window of time may have exposed hospital staff and other patients to the virus, which is estimated to kill about a third of infected patients.
Florida officials said they were monitoring the health of 20 healthcare workers who had been in contact with the patient, including a doctor who had already left for Canada. They also were trying to track down nearly 100 people who may have overlapped with the patient at two Orlando medical facilities he visited.