There are four hospitals with infectious disease isolation wards in the United States. Three of them are currently treating patients
Ebola nurse in isolation, but not alone: Moment doctor teared up in his Hazmat suit as he thanked Nina Pham for volunteering to treat ‘patient zero’ who infected her with virus
- Video shows Nina Pham saying goodbye to her doctor before she was transferred to a hospital in Maryland, Thursday evening
- Ms Pham contracted Ebola after volunteering to treat U.S. ‘patient zero’ Thomas Eric Duncan
- Fellow nurse Amber Vinson has also been diagnosed with the deadly virus.
- Ms Vinson, 29, was transported on Wednesday to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia
- On Thursday, Ms Pham was discharged to receive further treatment at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda and arrived just before midnight
Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital released a video on Thursday which shows the bittersweet moment Ebola-patient Nina Pham said goodbye to her doctor before leaving Dallas for further treatment in Maryland. The 26-year-old nurse contracted Ebola after volunteering to care for U.S ‘patient zero’ Thomas Eric Duncan, who tragically died on October 10 from the deadly disease. In the video released Thursday evening, at Ms Pham’s request, her treating physician gets emotional as he sees her off on her trip to the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda. ‘Thanks for getting well. Thanks for being part of the volunteer team to take care of our first patient,’ Dr Weinstein is heard saying, as he focuses the camera on Ms Pham, reclining in her hospital bed.
‘It means a lot. This has been a huge effort by all of you,’ he adds, before tearing up. Ms Pham then smiles and tells her doctor not to cry. ‘We’re really proud of you,’ Dr Weinstein says. That causes Ms Pham to start crying herself, and another physician standing by in full hazmat suiting hands her a tissue to wipe away her tears. The camera does not linger on Ms Pham long enough to see where she disposes of the wet tissue after drying her eyes. ‘I love you guys,’ she says. ‘We love you, Nina,’ Dr Weinstein responds, at the end of the video. Ms Pham was discharged from the Dallas hospital Thursday evening to fanfare as her coworkers gathered outside the building to see her off, holding up signs like ‘Get well’ and ‘You’re a rock star’. She landed in Bethesda around 10:40pm Eastern Time, and was admitted to NIH hospital shortly before midnight.
This afternoon Ms Pham asked the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital to release a statement on her behalf thanking her family, friends and co-workers for the outpouring of support. ‘I feel very blessed, and have gained strength from their support. I appreciate everything that my coworkers [sic] have done to care for me at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas,’ the nurse stated. ‘I’m doing really well thanks to this team, which is the best in the world. I believe in my talented coworkers. I am #presbyproud!’ The press release from the beleaguered hospital also included a statement from Dr. Gary Weinstein, chief of pulmonology and critical care medicine, who described the decision to transfer Ms Pham to Maryland as a difficult one. ‘We’re so glad she has improved so much in such a short amount of time,’ he said. ‘Our prayers are with her, and she’ll be in wonderful hands at NIH.’ Hospital spokeswoman Candace White concluded the statement by saying that it is in the best interest of everyone involved to ‘give the hospital an opportunity to prepare for whatever comes next.’ Meanwhile, the City of Dallas released new photos of Ms Pham’s beloved Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Bentley, looking cheerful during quarantine at the Dallas Animal Services and Adoption Center.
Bethesda bound: Ms Pham boarded her private flight to Maryland Thursday evening, and is seen in yellow being lead out of the ambulance by workers in similar protective clothing
Nurses have come forward to allege that training and procedures at the hospital were not adequate to protect them. Medical records obtained by the Associated Press revealed that during Duncan’s first two days in the hospital, nurses did not wear protective hazmat gear when treating him. Nurses also complained that their necks and wrists were exposed in the suits that they were given, that some supervisors said face masks weren’t necessary and that Duncan was not isolated for hours before he was admitted to the hospital. All these claims follow the shocking news weeks ago that Duncan was sent home with a prescription for antibiotics when he first showed up at the hospital – despite telling nurses he had traveled from West Africa. There are currently four Americans being treated for Ebola in the United States. NBC News freelancer Ashoka Mukpo is being treated at University of Nebraska Medical Center in Lincoln. Ms Vinson is at Emory University Hospital, along with an American World Health Organization doctor who contracted the disease while working in Sierre Leone. The only US hospital with an infectious disease isolation unit that has thus far not treated an Ebola patient is St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula, Montana. This comes as President Obama said on Thursday he is considering appointing an Ebola ‘czar’ as the lead U.S. coordinator in the effort to contain the virus and that he remains opposed to a ban on travel from West Africa.
Obama met in the Oval Office with aides who are involved in the Ebola fight and spoke to reporters afterward. He said ‘it may be appropriate’ at some stage to put one person in charge of the effort. Some lawmakers, such as Republican Senator John McCain, have been urging him to take this step. Gesturing to top aides who are leading various aspects of the Ebola fight like Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell, national security adviser Susan Rice and Centers for Disease Control director Tom Frieden, Obama said they have many other duties in addition to Ebola. ‘It’s not that they haven’t been doing an outstanding job working hard on this issue, but they’re also responsible for a whole lot of other stuff,’ he said.
Obama resisted pressure from lawmakers to impose a ban on travel from West Africa. He said experts tell him that ‘a flat-out travel ban is not the way to go’ because a ban would be less effective than current screening measures on travelers to the United States from the region. ‘I don’t have a philosophical objection necessarily to a travel ban if that is the thing that is going to keep the American people safe,’ he said. But he noted that some travelers might attempt to enter the United States under the radar and would avoid the screening measures, leading possibly to more rather than fewer Ebola cases. Indeed, the president’s comments came after the news that Ebola-stricken nurse Amber Vinson may have been showing symptoms of the deadly virus as early as last Friday – before she flew to Ohio for the weekend and then back to Texas. The CDC made the shocking announcement on Thursday, after Miss Vinson was revealed as the second medical worker in Dallas to contract Ebola from the U.S.’s ‘patient zero’ Thomas Duncan.
On October 10, Miss Vinson, 29, may have had Ebola symptoms when she flew out of Dallas-Fort Worth Airport on Frontier Airlines Flight 1142 to Cleveland to plan her upcoming wedding, a health official said today. CDC Dr Chris Braden said during a press briefing on Thursday: ‘We had started to look at the possibility that she had symptoms going back as far as Saturday. ‘This has to do with the bridal shop. Some more information that has come through recently says we can’t rule out that she might have had the start of her symptoms on Friday.’ Seven people in Cleveland and Akron have put themselves in voluntary quarantine after coming into contact with Miss Vinson, including five friends whom she shopped with for bridesmaid dresses at bridal store, Coming Attractions, in Cleveland. The news has prompted high schools and medical centers in Ohio to send home staff and students amid fears that they could have come into contact with the nurse. Miss Vinson remained in her home for the three days she was in Cleveland, except for one trip to a bridal store with friends – but authorities are pressing her further on her movements. The store’s owners have voluntarily closed while CDC officials investigate the level of risk. The owner of the store told Newsnet5 that Miss Vinson didn’t seem sick when she visited to pick out dresses. The 29-year-old is now being treated at Emory in Atlanta, Georgia where she was described as being in a stable condition.