Hospital officials “do not believe it is necessary or helpful for outside parties to intervene” in the relationship between Texas Health and its employees, the statement said. Though the statement doesn't mention the National Nurses United union by name, it reiterates responses that were made to NNU's allegations in an earlier statement, denying its claims that proper protocols were not in place.
NNU released a statement from an anonymous group of nurses Tuesday, claiming that the hospital had not adequately educated its employees on how to protect themselves while treating an Ebola patient, did not have enough personal protection equipment in supply and allowed providers who treated Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan to treat other patients. The hospital largely denied the allegations.
No spokesperson for the NNU was available for comment Friday on the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital rebuttal statement.
The hospital's parent system, Texas Health Resources, confirmed Friday that it has brought in global public relations firm Burson-Marsteller to handle crisis communications surrounding the Ebola situation. Karen Doyne, head of Burson's crisis communications unit, has previously dealt with bad healthcare press related to Dow Chemical's silicone breast implants and Wyeth Pharmaceuticals' Fen-Phen diet drug, among other cases.
At the beginning of the crisis, Texas Health Resources made a notable communication misstep, issuing and then retracting a statement that blamed Duncan's initial release on its electronic health records system. Exactly why Duncan was released after his first visit to the hospital has still not been explained.
In its statement Thursday, the hospital said the media also is to blame for spreading rumors about the facility and its staff.
“Many of the comments we have seen or heard in the media are only loosely based on fact, but are often out-of-context and sensationalized,” the statement said. “Others are completely inaccurate.”
Texas Health Resources has received an immense outpouring of support from its employees on its Facebook page. Some staff members have even changed their profile picture to the company's logo to show their support.
“It is incorrect and disturbing to many of our staff to hear media exaggerations about their commitment to the organization they love,” the statement said. “They are understandably worried and concerned in the eye of this storm, but they are steadfastly supporting their patients, each other, and the hospital they love.”
The hospital maintains that it has a strict non-retaliation policy, so employees are encouraged to alert their supervisors to potential problems.
“Texas Health Dallas remains a safe place for employees and patients,” the statement said. “We support the tireless and selfless dedication of our nurses and physicians, and we hope these facts clarify inaccuracies recently reported in the media.”
Follow Adam Rubenfire on Twitter: @arubenfire