Nurse With Ebola Jokes With Physician Before Leaving Dallas Hospital
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(DALLAS) — One of the nurses infected with the Ebola virus after treating another Ebola patient at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas arrived at the National Institutes of Health clinical center in Bethesda, Maryland, on Thursday night, where she will receive further treatment.
Nina Pham, the first of two nurses to contract Ebola in the United States, joked with her physician before beginning her trip to the National Institutes of Health clinical center in Bethesda.
Dr. Gary Weinstein recorded his conversation with Pham, 26, before she left Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas.
“Thanks for getting well. Thanks for being part of the volunteer team,” Weinstein told Pham. “We’re really proud of you.”
“Come to Maryland, everybody,” she said.
Pham contracted Ebola while treating Thomas Eric Duncan at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. She was diagnosed Sunday.
Duncan, a Liberian national, became the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola in the United States Sept. 30. He died on Oct. 8.
Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital requested that Pham be moved to the Special Clinical Studies Unit of the NIH Clinical Center, according to a statement from the NIH.
“She will receive state-of-the-art care in this high-level containment facility, which is one of a small number of such facilities in the United States,” according to the statement. “The unit staff is trained in strict infection control practices optimized to prevent spread of potentially transmissible agents such as Ebola.”
Pham asked the hospital to release a statement on her behalf, saying that she is “so thankful for the outpouring of love and support from friends and family, my coworkers and complete strangers.”
“I feel very blessed, and have gained strength from their support. I appreciate everything that my coworkers have done to care for me at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas. I’m doing really well thanks to this team, which is the best in the world. I believe in my talented coworkers,” Pham’s statement continued.
The Dallas hospital asked to move Pham because the Ebola situation left it short-staffed, the hospital said in a statement.
“With many of the medical professionals who would normally staff the intensive care unit sidelined for continuous monitoring, it is in the best interest of Nina, hospital employees, nurses, physicians and the community to give the hospital an opportunity to prepare for whatever comes next,” the statement said.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, who directs the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, said the Bethesda isolation facility where Pham is headed has only two beds.
“She will occupy one of them,” Fauci said.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Tom Frieden said the move would help the hospital deal with any other new patients and to carefully monitor the 50 health care workers from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, who might have been exposed to Ebola and need to be carefully monitored.
Another nurse who treated Duncan was diagnosed with Ebola Wednesday. Amber Vinson, 29, arrived at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Tuesday morning with a fever and was diagnosed with Ebola in the early hours of Wednesday morning. She was relocated to Emory University Hospital’s isolation unit Wednesday night.
Earlier this week, Pham’s and Vinson’s co-workers accused the hospital of sloppy protocols and failing to train and equip them properly to handle Duncan, leaving them vulnerable to Ebola. They released a statement through the National Nurses’ Union.
“Nurses had to interact with Mr. Duncan with whatever protective equipment was available, at a time when he had copious amounts of diarrhea and vomiting which produces a lot of contagious fluids,” the statement reads.
The hospital has insisted it complied with safety protocols established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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