A Dallas nurse who contracted Ebola after caring for the first U.S. diagnosed patient will be discharged from the federal medical facility treating her Friday.
Nina Pham worked for Texas Presbyterian Hospital Dallas and was among the dozens who helped care for Thomas Eric Duncan before he succumbed to the disease earlier this month. She then tested positive for Ebola a couple of weeks ago. While Pham was cared for at first by the Dallas hospital, last week she was transferred to the National Institute of Health’s Clinical Center, which is located just outside of Washington, D.C.
Slightly more than a week after receiving treatment from the NIH, Pham was declared free of the virus.
“I feel fortunate and blessed to be standing here today. I would first and foremost like to thank God, my family and friends,” Pham said in a news conference Friday.
Pham thanked all those who prayed for her and gave a special thank you to Dr. Kent Brantly, the first American to recover from Ebola this year, for donating plasma.
Pham was the first nurse diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S. and she was later joined by her colleague Amber Vinson, who tested positive just a couple of days later. Vinson is being treated at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.
Vinson’s family said this week that she is also free of the virus, but this has not yet been announced by medical officials. The statement from Vinson’s mother, Debra Berry, said hospital officials and those with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention could not detect the virus and approved her transfer from isolation.
At Friday’s news conference, Pham said she was joining all those who prayed for her in praying for those who still have Ebola and are recovering.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said at the news conference that Pham was not treated with any experimental drugs while at NIH. Fauci also gave his thanks to his staff who helped care for Pham, but also thanked the doctors and nurses at Texas Presbyterian “who took such good care of her before they sent her to us.”
Pham will be heading home to Texas where she said she is looking forward to gaining her strength back and reuniting with her dog, Bentley.
Watch Pham make her statement:
Pham’s recovery news comes just a day after a New York City doctor was admitted to the hospital into isolation and tested positive for Ebola. He had recently returned from caring for Ebola patients in Guinea.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday that Dr. Craig Spencer sought help when he had a 100.3-degree fever, not a higher temperature as previously reported. In appearance on CNN, the governor said Spencer “presented himself” to the hospital Thursday when he had a 100-point-3 fever … not 103 … as has been reported.”
Cuomo said Dr. Craig Spencer acted responsibly, even though he rode the subway, bowled and rode a cab. The governor said the doctor obviously felt he wasn’t symptomatic” when he went out “in a limited way.” Some have criticized the doctor for these actions.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.