Former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Richard Carmona warned of "gaps" in emergency hazard training at hospitals Tuesday as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new guidelines for health workers caring for Ebola patients.
Carmona, who implemented an "All-Hazards" program under President George W. Bush following 9/11, said the following on Fox News' "America's Newsroom":
"It looks like we've lost that edge that we put in place after 9/11 ... the idea was, from the federal government we would provide the training, the equipment, the funding to get you started, and then each hospital health system would integrate that into their training. Compliance was assured by other organizations ... somewhere along the line there's been some gaps that have been created."
"We talked about Ebola over a decade ago, not as a germ that might come here, but, 'What if our adversaries weaponized it?' Whether it came her as it did now just accidentally or it was weaponzied, the first-responder approach is exactly the same."
Carmona also warned of hospitals getting complacent in between health emergencies because another crisis is always looming.
Although Ebola is making headlines today, in six months or a year, officials likely will have another germ, and another problem, on their hands, he said.
"First responders and health officials have to be aware, and they have to be equipped and they have to be trained to make real critical decisions on the short term that infection doesn't spread."
As for the CDC's Ebola guidelines, Carmona called the measures "a start" but "long overdue."
"It's unfortunate that it had to be brought to attention by a group of nurses in Dallas that felt that they were unprotected," he said.
"It must be done. Hospitals have to take responsibility."