Philadelphia hospitals prep for overseas visitors, diseases - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Philadelphia hospitals prep for overseas visitors, diseases

By NATALIE POMPILIO
Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - As people from around the world head to Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families and the papal visit, doctors are preparing to treat illnesses that they may not recognize or that normally would be treated at other facilities.

"Some diseases that are common in other parts of the world aren't regularly seen in the U.S. Our providers know about them but haven't seen them," said Mark Ross, regional manager of emergency preparedness for the Hospital Association of Pennsylvania. "We've made sure our providers know what they look like."

The Philadelphia Department of Public Health issued a special advisory this week listing some infectious diseases of concern. They include typhoid and yellow fever; the chikungunya virus that produces fevers and joint pain; malaria; polio; and tuberculosis.

Typically, 0.3 to 1.3 percent of people attending a mass gathering will need some sort of medical care, "from a Band-Aid to heart surgery," said John Wierzbowski, who heads the department of safety and emergency management at Pennsylvania Hospital.

Papal visit planners have estimated up to 1.5 million people could come to Philadelphia for Sunday's outdoor Mass, the biggest event of Francis' first trip to the U.S. Ahead of the pope's visit, demand for hotels, rail passes and other services was lower than expected. But even an influx of hundreds of thousands of people would put added demand on medical facilities.

At least 18,000 people from more than 100 countries are attending the Vatican-sponsored World Meeting of Families, which drew Francis to Philadelphia. He will attend the meeting's closing festival Saturday after earlier stops in Washington and New York.

At Tuesday's opening ceremony, children held up signs showing how far some had traveled: more than 5,000 miles from Argentina and Nigeria and over 8,000 miles from Vietnam and the Philippines.

The city's Health Department has posted a special World Meeting of Families website with lists of disease symptoms, diagnostics and treatments and instructions on patient isolation and the use of personal protective equipment. It also includes a public health screening tool to aid clinicians in evaluating patients for potential infectious disease.

The department is instructing health care providers to take a detailed travel history from patients and to report diseases to a special hotline.

Security and travel restrictions, including the closure of 25 miles of streets and highways during the papal visit this weekend, have also driven medical planning.

Burn victims would typically go to Temple University Hospital in North Philadelphia. But because of Pennsylvania Hospital's location within the papal safety zone, it has been outfitted with burn carts - containing anti-bacterial dressings, airway management supplies and ointments - to treat people with moderate burns.

As planners expect a largely older crowd, Wierzbowski said, doctors believe a majority of patients needing medical care will be suffering from dehydration, chest pains or minor cuts, scrapes and burns.

Still, he knows there will also be visitors with special needs and serious illnesses, some of them hoping for healing from the pope. They'll require more acute care.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Local NewsNewsMore>>

  • School shooting may not bring change to gun-loving Texas

    School shooting may not bring change to gun-loving Texas

    Monday, May 21 2018 12:52 AM EDT2018-05-21 04:52:04 GMT
    Tuesday, May 22 2018 12:05 AM EDT2018-05-22 04:05:59 GMT
    (Elizabeth Conley/Houston Chronicle via AP). A billboard is seen off of I-45 near Santa Fe, Texas, where a student shot and killed eight classmates and two teachers at Santa Fe High School.(Elizabeth Conley/Houston Chronicle via AP). A billboard is seen off of I-45 near Santa Fe, Texas, where a student shot and killed eight classmates and two teachers at Santa Fe High School.

    The shooting suspect, 17-year-old Dimitrios Pagourtzis, has been jailed on capital murder charges.

    The shooting suspect, 17-year-old Dimitrios Pagourtzis, has been jailed on capital murder charges.

  • FBI, Justice to 'review' classified info sought by lawmakers

    FBI, Justice to 'review' classified info sought by lawmakers

    Monday, May 21 2018 12:51 AM EDT2018-05-21 04:51:49 GMT
    Tuesday, May 22 2018 12:03 AM EDT2018-05-22 04:03:55 GMT
    (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File). FILE - In this Thursday, May 17, 2018, file photo, U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House, in Washington. Trump said he will "demand" that the Justice Department open ...(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File). FILE - In this Thursday, May 17, 2018, file photo, U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House, in Washington. Trump said he will "demand" that the Justice Department open ...

    Trump's demand puts further pressure on the Justice Department, which later Sunday asked its watchdog to expand an existing probe of FBI actions, as the White House combats the threat posed by special counsel Robert Mueller's ongoing investigation.

    Trump's demand puts further pressure on the Justice Department, which later Sunday asked its watchdog to expand an existing probe of FBI actions, as the White House combats the threat posed by special counsel Robert Mueller's ongoing investigation.

  • Asian markets mostly lower after Wall Street gains

    Asian markets mostly lower after Wall Street gains

    Monday, May 21 2018 10:12 AM EDT2018-05-21 14:12:11 GMT
    Tuesday, May 22 2018 12:03 AM EDT2018-05-22 04:03:08 GMT
    (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File). FILE- In this May 10, 2018, file photo, the opening bell hangs above the trading floor at the New York Stock Exchange. The U.S. stock market opens at 9:30 a.m. EDT on Monday, May 21.(AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File). FILE- In this May 10, 2018, file photo, the opening bell hangs above the trading floor at the New York Stock Exchange. The U.S. stock market opens at 9:30 a.m. EDT on Monday, May 21.
    Stocks are climbing on Wall Street and overseas after the U.S. and China said they made progress in trade talks.
    Stocks are climbing on Wall Street and overseas after the U.S. and China said they made progress in trade talks.
Powered by Frankly