Ebola, sanctuary, neighbors united and other news

One of the most basic – and effective – tools in modern medicine is also one of the most low-tech: Charting.

But when it comes to treating Ebola, even something as simple as writing down medical treatment, symptoms and medicines is complicated, says the International Rescue Committee.

Because of the hot, bulky safety gear practitioners must wear, even writing things down can be difficult. And the records can’t leave the area because they could be carrying the deadly virus. Further, medical staff is limited in the time they can spend in the infectious wards, leaving precious little time to spend writing in a patient’s chart.

The two methods to deal with the situation have not been very effective: Shouting notations to someone outside the ward who writes them down, or trying to do them from memory after leaving the ward.

But now, IRC says, there is a new weapon: JEDI.

The Joint Electronic Health Decision Support Interface uses waterproof computer tablets inside the infectious wards to let medical personnel keep records on each patient, letting the system track patients from the time the enter the clinic until they leave.

It also lets staff prescribe medicine with a touch of a button, and tracks the time they spend inside the infectious wards to keep them safe, as well.

In the long term, the better records and the ability to compile them electronically will let doctors see which treatments are most effective.

The IRC says at least 6,000 people have died in the Ebola outbreak in Liberia and Sierra Leone; JEDI will be deployed in IRC’s Ebola treatment unit in Monrovia, Liberia, due to open later this month.

Finding hope amid the hatred

Adorers of the Blood of Christ Sr. Regina Siegfried lives in an inner-city St. Louis neighborhood called Shaw. With much of St. Louis already tense after the events in nearby Ferguson, Shaw seemed primed to explode after a gunfight between a teen and a St. Louis police officer in early October.

But that didn’t happen, and it didn’t because of the goodness and compassion within Shaw residents, Siegfried writes in The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, something she calls “Inside Shaw.”

She shared her original version with Global Sisters Report. Read it here.

Immigration news

If you think President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration has solved the problem, many say, think again.

In Philadelphia, Angela Navarro has taken sanctuary inside a church to avoid deportation. She’s the mother of two U.S.-born children and married to a U.S. citizen, has lived here for 12 years and is active in her church, activists say.

Now groups are taking donations to help support Navarro’s family, as she can’t work while in sanctuary, and have started an online petition pleading her cause.

Navarro is the eighth person this year to take sanctuary in a church to avoid deportation, Aljazeera America reports.

Meanwhile, the ACLU says that 83 percent of deportations are ordered by immigration officers, not judges, without hearings.

“Those deported in "summary removal" processes do not get a hearing or a chance to present evidence, or call a lawyer, or even say goodbye to their families before they are banished, sometimes for life,” the group says.

The ACLU’s report, American Exile: Rapid Deportations that Bypass the Courtroom, “shows the incredible costs to those we remove and to their families left behind when the rush to deport trumps due process.”

Trial postponed for talks

The lawsuit against the Ursuline sisters of the Western Province has been delayed as the two sides continue settlement talks. The trial had been scheduled to start Dec. 1.

The case, filed in Helena, Mont., alleges that 11 sisters who served at the St. Ignatius Mission church and school on the Flathead Indian Reservation from the 1940s to the early 1970s physically, sexually and emotionally abused boarding and day school students.

Filed in 2011, the case in Lewis and Clark County, Mont., against the Ursuline Sisters, Western Province, lists 95 plaintiffs and includes placeholders for up to 105 more in case others come forward in the future.

Plaintiffs’ attorney Vito de la Cruz said the two sides are finalizing settlement negotiations.

“This is a positive step forward in resolving these sensitive matters,” de la Cruz said.

San Francisco attorney John P. Christian, who represents the Western Province, based in Santa Rosa, Calif., declined to comment.

While about 5,000 priests and deacons in the United States have been accused of sexual abuse since 2003 in cases stretching back into the 1950s, the best estimates of U.S. women religious accused of abuse – not counting the 11 in this case – is around 88, according to Bishop-accountability.org, an online archive established by lay Catholics to track abuse claims.

Join Pope Francis and many others

Pope Francis joined Anglican, Orthodox, Jewish, Shia and Sunni Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist representatives last week in signing a joint declaration against modern slavery.

Didn’t get your invite to the ceremony at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences? No worries: Thanks to the Global Freedom Network, you can sign the declaration, too.

The group estimates 35.8 million people around the world live in bondage.

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Remember, links, tips and accounts of the response to any crisis anywhere in the world are always welcome at dstockman@ncronline.org.

[Dan Stockman is national correspondent for Global Sisters Report. Follow him on Twitter or on Facebook.]

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