Local health care workers trained at special Ebola seminar

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- As evidenced in Dallas, nurses are the ones most at risk for contracting Ebola when treating a patient. Local hospitals and a health care workers' unions want to make sure nurses know how to protect themselves in Southern California.

One wrong move can turn into a deadly mistake for anyone treating an Ebola patient.

Registered nurse Peter Sidhu from Kaiser Woodland Hills and other local healthcare workers learned step-by-step how to protect themselves at a specialized training seminar on Friday.

Included in one of the demonstrations - how to properly remove contaminated gloves before changing into a new pair and sanitizing them before touching one's head gear.

Nurses are on the front lines.

"Nurses are actually making contact with the patients when they're in the most active stage of the disease, and that's the most dangerous," said Dr. Patrick Courneya with Kaiser Foundation Hospitals.

The safety session, which is available for health care practitioners to review online, is a collaboration between Kaiser Permanente, its nurses unions, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Service Employees International Union and the Union of Health Care Professionals.

"Knowing how things unfolded in Dallas, learning lessons from that experience and making sure we transmit that knowledge to everybody who's going to be responsible for helping patients who might have Ebola," Courneya said.

Organizers say this event is not the end of the discussion but the beginning, because besides protection suits, the most important weapon against this disease is knowledge.

"So we can be armed, so we will know what to do," said Deborah Montgomery, who works in an emergency room. She said fear and misinformation is what causes mistakes, and seminars like this give her confidence.

"I think it's nothing to be afraid of. It's our duty as health care workers to embrace it and learn from it," Montgomery said.

Experts urged nurses to review all the protocols and to practice, practice, practice because one health care worker contracting Ebola while taking care of a patient is one too many.

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