Dallas Nurse Upgraded to Good Condition - NBC New York
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Dallas Nurse Upgraded to Good Condition

Nurse upgraded to good condition Tuesday

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Nurse With Ebola Considers Transfer to Emory

    Nina Pham, a nurse who contracted Ebola, considers a transfer to Emory University and the CDC keeps a close eye on 75 health care workers who treated Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan, Oct. 16, 2014. (Published Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014)

    A Dallas nurse who became infected with Ebola while treating the first patient diagnosed in the U.S. was upgraded to good condition Tuesday and remained good Wednesday, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas said.

    The hospital released the update on Nina Pham's condition Wednesday afternoon.

    On Tuesday she released a statement saying she was doing well and feels blessed.

    "I'm doing well and want to thank everyone for their kind wishes and prayers. I am blessed by the support of family and friends and am blessed to be cared for by the best team of doctors and nurses in the world here at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas," Pham said.

    Additionally, Texas Health Resources CEO Barclay Berdan added, "The hearts and prayers of everyone at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas are with Nina Pham, and we are working tirelessly to help her in this courageous fight. The doctors and nurses involved with her treatment remain hopeful, and we ask for the prayers of the entire country."

    Texas Health Resources tweeted Tuesday afternoon that the cost for Pham's care will be covered and will not be a financial burden for the family.  For other expenses, Texas Health Resources asked that people be directed to the links in the tweet below.

    "There is a concern that other outlets for fund raising are not legitimate sources," Texas Health Resources said Tuesday. The GoFundMe account tweeted by the hospital was set up by Pham's childhood friend.

    The hospital says anyone wishing to send a message to Pham directly can do so through the hospital's website.

    Pham, a Texas Christian University nursing school graduate, was among 76 staff members at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital who cared for Thomas Eric Duncan, according to medical records.

    On Tuesday, the state health department updated the number of people it is monitoring for Ebola.

    The state is now monitoring 11 people who had direct contact with the two Dallas Ebola patients, and 114 people who had possible contact.

    That second number jumped Tuesday because of all the health care workers being monitored at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas.

    The state now says each of them is being actively monitored, rather than allowing them to self-monitor.

    The 26-year-old Pham was in the Liberian man's room often, from the day he was placed in intensive care until the day before he died Oct. 8.

    She and other health care workers wore protective gear, including gowns, gloves, masks and face shields -- and sometimes full-body suits -- when caring for Duncan, but she became the first person to contract the disease within the United States. Duncan died Wednesday.

    Pham understood the risks and tried to reassure her family that she would be safe, according to a family friend.

    When Pham's mother learned her daughter was caring for Duncan, Pham told her: "Don't worry about me," Christina Tran told The Associated Press on Monday.

    Pham went to the hospital Friday night after finding she had a fever.

    Pham's parents live in Fort Worth, where they are part of a closely-knit, deeply religious community of Vietnamese Catholics. Members of their church held a special Mass for her Monday.

    Pham has been gaining a lot of support from her friends, especially at her alma mater at TCU, where there was a prayer vigil for her Tuesday night.

    But those who know her are in shock that she contracted the virus while caring for another Ebola patient.

    “It puts a different feel on it when it’s someone you know,” said college classmate Lilly Frawley. “It is very shocking and also admittedly, there’s a little bit of fear with it, too, because it’s something that you don't want to happen here and all of a sudden it's affecting somebody that you know.”

    Pham was well liked by her peers and always had a smile on her face.

    “She was well loved,” said Frawley. “She was absolutely a joy to be around all the time. She was one of the most positive people I ever met.”

    Her compassionate nature made nursing the perfect fit for her. But friends of hers never thought Pham contracting the Ebola virus was a possibility, as she was known in the classroom to be meticulous and detailed oriented.

    At the hospital, she received a plasma transfusion from a doctor who beat the virus.

    Jeremy Blume, a spokesman for the nonprofit medical mission group Samaritan's Purse, confirmed that the plasma donation came from Kent Brantly, the first American to return to the U.S. from Liberia to be treated for Ebola. Brantly received an experimental treatment and fought off the virus, and has donated blood to three others, including Pham.

    "He's a doctor. That's what he's there to do. That's his heart," Blume said.

    Brantly said in a recent speech that he also offered his blood for Duncan, but that their blood types didn't match.

    Khoi said Pham's mother assured him the nurse was comfortable and that the two women had been able to talk via Skype. She was in isolation and in stable condition, health officials said. Another unidentified person who had close contact with her has also been isolated as a precaution.

    Since Pham tested positive for Ebola, public-health authorities have intensified their monitoring of other hospital workers who cared for Duncan.

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Tom Frieden said he would not be surprised if more fall ill because Ebola patients become more contagious as the disease progresses.

    Pham's name appears frequently throughout the hundreds of pages of medical records provided to The Associated Press by Duncan's family. They show she was in his room Oct. 7, the day before he died.

    Her notes describe nurses going in and out of his room wearing protective gear to treat him and to mop the floor with bleach.

    She also notes how she and other nurses ensured Duncan's "privacy and comfort," and provided "emotional support."

    Frieden has said a breach of protocol led to the nurse's infection, but officials are not sure what went wrong. Pham has not been able to point to any specific breach.

    On Tuesday, Frieden said Pham might never have contracted Ebola if the CDC had sent out a rapid response team to Dallas as soon as Thomas Eric Duncan tested positive.

    "I've thought often about it. I wish we had put a team like this on the ground the day the patient, the first patient, was diagnosed. That might've prevented this infection," said Frieden.

    Among the things the CDC will investigate is how the workers took off protective gear, because removing it incorrectly can lead to contamination. Investigators will also look at dialysis and intubation -- the insertion of a breathing tube in a patient's airway. Both procedures have the potential to spread the virus.

    The CDC is also stiffening protocols as needed.

    "The first and most important is ensuring that every hour of the day, there is a site manager there who is overseeing aspects of infection control. That individual makes sure that the personal protective equipment is put on correctly and taken off correctly. In fact, in our work, stopping Ebola in Africa, this is the single most important position to protect health workers: a single site manager, who's expert and oversees every aspect of the process," said Frieden.

    Frieden said officials are also enhancing training for medical staff, by having ongoing, refresher and repeat training, along with assistance from two Emory University Medical Center nurses who have cared for Ebola patients in Atlanta.

    "And third, we're recommending that the number of staff who go in for care be limited. We want to limit the number of staff who are providing care, so that they can become more familiar and more systematic in how they put on and take off protective equipment, and they can become more comfortable, in a health way, with providing care in the isolation unit," said Frieden.

    NBC 5's Johnny Archer and Bianca Castro contributed to this report.