The Biocontainment Unit at The Nebraska Medical Center is accessible to civilians in the United States equipped to safely care for anyone exposed to a contagious and dangerous disease such as avian flu. Early isolation of an infected patient is essential - buying time for public health officials and providing the chance to either stop an outbreak - or rapidly contain one. The Unit’s location, on the same campus as Nebraska’s Bio-Safety Level-3 laboratory, allows for timely diagnosis and immediate treatment of patients.
The Biocontainment Unit at The Nebraska Medical Center can receive patients from anywhere in the country, and is equipped with Hepa-filtered individual isolation units, ISO Pods, that allow for safe transport and transfer of an infected patient. Headed by Medical Director Dr. Philip Smith, a specialist in infectious diseases, the Biocontainment Unit has a staff of 15 registered nurses and 14 respiratory therapists who are on-call 24 hours a day.
In addition to avian influenza, other highly contagious and deadly infectious conditions the unit can handle include: SARS, anthrax, smallpox, tularemia, plague, botulism, Ebola virus and other viral hemorrhagic fevers, monkeypox, vancomycin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (VRSA) and multidrug resistant tuberculosis.
The unit is equipped with special air-handling systems to ensure that germs do not spread beyond the patient rooms. Ultraviolet light, a dunk tank for lab specimens and a sterilizer for laundry are just some of the safety measures being taken to keep germs inside the unit and people safe on the outside. From a more psycho-social perspective, the unit has two video-phones that will give families and friends a connection to a loved-one inside the unit. The videophones will also make consultations easier and safer.
- Being Prepared
Glenn Fosdick, President & CEO of The Nebraska Medical Center Dr. Philip Smith, Medical Director of the Biocontainment Unit
- Unique Features
Dr. Philip Smith, Medical Director of the Biocontainment Unit
- The Staff
Pat Lenaghan, RN, MSN, Manager of the Biocontainment Unit
Video courtesy National Terrorism Preparedness Institute