The Ebola Diary: Thursday, Oct 9 2014, Madrid

Pathetic fallacy stalks Madrid as the heavy, black clouds close in around the city and its citizens experience one of the twenty-odd rainy days granted to it each year. There’s traffic gridlock, as there always is when a few drops fall from the sky. I’m guessing that everyone trapped in their cars is tuned into the twenty-four hour news phenomenon that is ebola.

Overnight, an additional two people have been put into quarantine. Both of these are doctors who cared for the infected, Ms Romero Ramos. All of the people so far placed in isolation, bar Ms Romero Ramos’s husband and a man who arrived off a flight from Nigeria, have been healthcare workers. One of the doctors quarantined last night, Juan Manuel Parra, tended to Ms Romero Ramos more or less on his own for an unbroken sixteen hours, a period during which her state grew steadily worse and during which she vomited, had diarrhoea and coughed up blood. His intervention probably saved her life but at great risk to himself. Only for the latter part of his administering to her did he wear the highest-level biosafety suit.

These people are heroes, simple as that. If the threat of an ebola outbreak is averted, it wont be down to the politicians standing behind their (shaky at best) emergency protocols or justifying cuts to healthcare budges. It wont be down to incompetent administrators shoving the blame for the mess we’re in as far down the chain of command as possible. It wont be down to right-wing journalists lamenting the tarnishing of “Brand España” abroad.

It will be down to the nurse’s aids, nurses, doctors and ambulance drivers who put their lives on the line while working under needlessly inadequate conditions.

At lunchtime, we hear that Ms Romero Ramos’s condition has worsened; she is having difficulty breathing and has been intubated. Another doctor has been placed in isolation, bringing the number up to six. As well as these half-dozen hospitalized patients, there are another fifty people who have been ordered to remain in their houses and are being monitored round the clock for the appearance of symptoms.

Over the last twenty-four hours, the status of public enemy number one has shifted from health minister, Ana Mato, to the health secretary for the Autonomous Region of Madrid, Javier Rodríguez. He has been busy in the media defending to the hilt Madrid’s ebola response protocols and sticking the boot into Ms Romero Ramos to the extent of declaring that one “doesn’t need a masters to put on a [protective] suit”, the implication being that the nurse’s aid’s ebola-positive status is her own doing. One feels like throwing him to the mob of animal rights protesters who are baying for blood following the putting down of Ms Romero Ramos’s dog, Excalibur.


About ucronin

Born in the country town of Ennis, Co. Clare, Ireland in 1975, I now live in Madrid with my partner and two young daughters and work in a research institute. While I was always a hungry reader and harboured vague notions of being a writer, as a young man writing was the furthest thing from my mind; after leaving school, I did a B.Sc. in Biotechnology in Galway's NUI, an M.Sc. in Plant Science in University College Cork and a Ph.D. in Microbiology in the University of Limerick, the plan being to dedicate my professional career to scientific research. While having written extensively within my technical scientific field, I had never contemplated becoming a writer of fiction until a road-to-Damascus moment on the N69 between Listowel and Tarbert, Co. Kerry in the summer of 2011. Since then, most of my spare time has been occupied with writing. In whatever other free moments I have, I like to listen to music, play the guitar and garden (which here in Madrid means a lot of watering of plants and spraying for red spider mite). My ambition is to become as good a writer as I possibly can, eventually freeing myself from the cold clutches of science and earning a living through my scribblings. The type of writing that excites me is honest, intelligent, well-constructed and richly descriptive.
This entry was posted in Death, Ebola, Madrid, Politics, Spain and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The Ebola Diary: Thursday, Oct 9 2014, Madrid

  1. This is a very scary situation. It’s here in the US now. Possibly even in my state, they have someone quarantined, hopefully it’s just a precaution. I don’t understand why people leaving there can’t be quarantined before coming to other countries. Stupid politicians. Worry about our health, not economies!

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