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The New Ebola Protocols

New U.S. cases have health experts rethinking the response and turning to doctors and hospitals that were truly prepared

Year after year, the staff at Emory University Hospital prepared for a crisis that never arrived, finetuning the creepy details of a plan they hoped they would never have to activate. Isolation rooms. Hazmat suits. Protocols for the disposal of human waste teeming with lethal virus. They reminded colleagues of the biblical prophet who built a huge boat under skies of bluest blue, anticipating a tempest that few could see coming. “I have to admit to you, a lot of people sort of saw this like Noah’s Ark,” Dr. Bruce Ribner recalled in a recent interview. As head of Emory’s serious-communicable-disease unit, Ribner filled the role of Noah, the doomsday planner who was wrong, wrong, wrong about the weather—until the deluge arrived, and he was proved right.

Ebola is the deluge, and Emory was …

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