In years to come, Ebola's impact on Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas will likely become a risk-management classic. Business cases will be written and studied at universities akin to how a pathologist performs an autopsy to learn what went wrong and the pathway through which the destruction occurred.
However, we are still in the early stages of these events and many other hospitals could find themselves dealing with similar circumstances. We cannot wait for historians to do their analysis. We need to learn all we can as it unfolds.
Everyone recognizes that Ebola represents a global human tragedy. The only reason that the financial implications on healthcare institutions are important is that they have a critical role in helping people and they are vital economic engines in their communities.
Much has been written about how the Ebola virus kills a previously healthy person. The virus produces proteins that block immune cells from signaling antibodies to attack as well as preventing development of adaptive immunity. Infected individuals experience multi-organ failure, terminal bleeding and ultimately death. Understanding this process is important in learning how to treat it and also how to prevent it.