Presby's Nurses Announce Support for the Hospital But Secrecy Remains

Keep Dallas Observer Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Dallas and help keep the future of Dallas Observer free.

On Monday afternoon, dozens of nurses, doctors and other healthcare employees convened at the front entrance of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital to discuss the recent controversy about how the hospital handled the Ebola outbreak. Despite definitive comments in support of the hospital, Presby's nurses remained tight-lipped on what actually happened during Thomas Eric Duncan's care.

See also: Presbyterian's Nurses Are Pushing Back on the CDC and Hospital Over Handling of Ebola

"Today we want our community and our country to know that the nurses at Texas Health Presbyterian are so proud of our hospital and proud of what we do," said Dr. Cole Edmonson, chief nursing officer at the hospital. "There are a lot of questions being asked about what happened. And I can't answer those today. A number of reviews are underway."

Although three representatives for the nurses at the hospital spoke in support of Texas Health Presbyterian, little was said about allegations of poor management and treatment procedures. The nurses did not address a single question, nor did they mention fellow nurses' claims that the hospital's missteps led to nurses Nina Pham and Amber Vinson to become infected.

"A lot has been said about our hospital in the last few weeks," said nurse Chantea Irving, speaking about the hospital's sullied reputation. "We are a tight-knit group. We are a family, we are friends. It was very hard on us when Mr. Duncan died. But we also know it was difficult on his family as well."

Nurse Julie Boling, who has worked with the hospital for 17 years, conceded that some ways the hospital treated the virus could have been handled better. "Some things went wrong," she said. But, she noted, invoking the now-famed Twitter hashtag, "first and foremost I am Presby proud."

The nurses' statements come as a part of the hospital's launch into a counter-campaign against criticisms. The move is not just a vanity fix to the hospital's damaged name: With diverted ambulatory traffic (which was just reinstated on Monday, after a week of significantly fewer ER patients), all non-essential workers sent home and what some believe to be a substantial drop in elective procedure traffic, the hospital is currently dealing with an exponential drop in revenue.

"This thing has just snowballed, without question," says Dr. Forney Fleming, a healthcare administration expert at UT-Dallas. "On the one hand, there's the cost of the medical care, and then the loss of traffic and revenue because of the people that now are reluctant to use their services for the time being. So both of those are going to show up on the bottom line."

Some question whether the hospital can even recover from the combination of continued financial losses and a hurt reputation. Doctors and nurses confirm that the hospital is eerily quiet, and that patient traffic has dropped.

Which is why, if they're not eager to explain their mistakes, Presbyterian's employees are willing to generally acknowledge their errors, while emphasizing their faith and support in the hospital. "We're proud of our hospital, proud of what we do, and proud of our nursing staff," said Edmonson. "We know we need to reaffirm the public's trust in us."

Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.