UPDATE: 5:45 p.m.
According to Knox County Attorney Gilbert Holland, the adult female patient at the Knox County Hospital who believed she was exposed to the Ebola virus will not be charged.
The patient apparently believed she had may been exposed through possible third party contact with one of her children. However, hospital officials confirm this is not the case and wish to assure the general public that there never was any cause for alarm.
Knox County Hospital officials confirmed a patient was brought into the emergency room by ambulance around 2 p.m. Friday. Learning of the patient’s possible exposure to the Ebola virus, the hospital immediately took the necessary emergency preparedness precautions and locked down the emergency room.
Dr. Robert Bond, head of the emergency room, consulted with the regional epidemiologist, Dr. Marion Pennington, and they determined it was not an exposure to Ebola.
The emergency room reopened around 3 p.m.
Hospital officials determined there was never any threat of Ebola exposure to the general public.
“If we find that this was a hoax or a falsification of information, we will contact law enforcement,” sad Hospital Administrator, Ray Canady.” We knew that something like this could happen. Our staff is trained in emergency preparedness.”
In addition to the Knox County incident, the Mountain Advocate has confirmed that there have been at least two other similar incidents reported in Fayette County, which also turned out not to be Ebola.
“This is close to home, and we would take a hoax like this very seriously,” said Knox County Attorney Gilbert Holland. “In fact, we would treat it much as we would a bomb threat. This could warrant serious charges against the person or persons making the threat.”
Holland said a person falsely claiming Ebola exposure could face second-degree felony terroristic threatening charges. They could also be charged with wanton endangerment for every patient or staff member put in harm’s way.
Then, there is the huge civil cost the person would have to repay to the hospital for all the time and effort the staff had to put in to handle the possible exposure.