With two of her colleagues testing positive for Ebola virus disease after they were among the dozens who helped care for the first patient to be diagnosed in the U.S. during the current outbreak, a Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital nurse in Dallas spoke out harshly against her employer.
Brianna Aguirre said on NBC's "Today," "I can no longer defend my hospital at all." She said that she believes the hospital should have acknowledged it was not handling the situation well and should have asked experts for more help.
In an interview with host Matt Lauer, the nurse who has worked at the hospital for three years not only said that she watched hospital staff "violate basic principles of nursing," but she added that she would "refuse to go there to be treated" for other ailments at this point.
"I would try anything and everything to refuse to go there to be treated," she said. "I would feel at risk by going there. If I don’t actually have Ebola, I may contract it there."
Before Thomas Eric Duncan arrived, Aguirre said "we never talked about Ebola." The hospital did have an optional seminar for its staff to learn more about Ebola and its procedures, she added.
Watch the interview:
While Aguirre didn't care for Duncan, she did care for Nina Pham, the nurse who tested positive for Ebola Sunday and was part of the Liberian man's care team before he succumbed to the disease last week.
Duncan traveled to the U.S. from Liberia before exhibiting symptoms. He went to the hospital reporting an illness but a breakdown of communication did not result in him being admitted to the hospital at the time. A few days later, Duncan was brought back to Texas Heath Presbyterian Hospital in an ambulance and at this point was tested positive for Ebola.
Aguirre isn't the only health professional to speak out against how the hospital handled its treatment of its first Ebola patient, which has lead to two subsequent infections. National Nurses United was contacted by RNs at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, who remained anonymous in its statement about the hospital's procedures. The statement revealed subpar conditions for those involved with the care of Duncan.
The hospital responded to several of these allegations Thursday, saying that the "assertions do not reflect the actual facts learned from the medical record and interactions with clinical caregivers."
Aguirre told Lauer that while working at this hospital is "the best job I ever had" and one she doesn't want to lose, she decided to come forward with her thoughts regarding the Ebola cases anyway.