• Emory University Hospital CEO explains why he chose to accept Ebola patients

    Updated:

    ATLANTA - Channel 2’s Mark Winne got new insight into the decision to treat the two Ebola patients in metro Atlanta. He spoke to the CEO of Emory University Hospital.
     
    CEO Bob Bachman said there was no question Emory would accept the patients for treatment.
     
    Bachman is known for working very closely with the staff throughout the hospital. He said he got some very pointed questions when he held staff meetings in a hospital amphitheater to brief employees on what was coming but he said he just felt a moral obligation to do the right thing.
     
    “These were medical missionaries who put themselves on the line. American, medical missionaries. We just felt a moral obligation to do the right thing,” Bachman said. “There was not a nanosecond of hesitation. When the call came in we just simply said ‘yes’ and ‘when.’”
     
    “Our chief medical officer and chief nursing officer said ‘OK, it’s time to prepare,’” Bachman said.
     
    Bachman was at one of the most pivotal moments in the hospital’s long history.
     
    “The instant you find out you’re going to be getting two Ebola patients … [The first brought to America right?] Correct. [What happens inside Bob Bachman?] Oh, my heart was beating about 100 miles an hour,” Bachman said.
     
    Bachman said he was mostly worried about the media, the message and misinformation about Ebola infection. He wanted to get the word out accurately
     
    “Tremendous fear, tremendous misunderstanding from so many people. ‘Don't bring this into our country.’ This is the best hospital in America for these two patients to be treated at,” Bachman said.
     
    “While Ebola is very contagious, it is not spread by droplet or air, it has to be human contact,” Bachman said. “We are absolutely confident that our policies, our procedures, our structure, our containment unit are such that the virus will not get out into the rest of the hospital or anywhere else.”
     
    Bachman said leaders held town hall meetings with the staff before the Ebola-infected patients arrived and were met with anxiety and pointed questions. However, since the patients arrived, Bachman said the feedback has been “99.9 percent positive.”
     
    He said the special containment unit set up for handling diseases like Ebola was built with CDC grant money and for years Emory's staff trained and practiced for moments like this.
     
    Bachman said he is up in the room just outside of the containment area about every day, where he can actually see what's going on. It is one of the most vulnerable places, perhaps, if there was a containment leak. He said he has zero anxiety.


    Next Up: