Isolating and treating those infected with Ebola are only two of a multitude of logistical challenges presented by the ongoing epidemic. Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas is now challenged with getting rid of the Ebola-contaminated waste that’s been generated by the first patient to be diagnosed with the disease in the U.S., Thomas Eric Duncan, who is now in critical condition at the hospital.
Anything from sheets used by Duncan at the home where he stayed to needles used to treat him at the hospital could potentially be hazardous. Where will all the waste go? And how will it be disposed of safely?
To that end, the Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), in consultation with the Center for Disease Control (CDC), has awarded a special disposal permit to the medical waste management company Stericycle, Inc. The company will be responsible for handling Ebola-contaminated waste for Texas as a whole, not just Presbyterian Hospital. So, should another case of Ebola be diagnosed within the state, Stericycle will be tasked with safely disposing of waste from that incident as well.