The nurse at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas who tested positive for Ebola has received a blood donation from a North Texas doctor who survived his bout with the potentially deadly disease.
Nina Pham, 26, is believed to be the first person to contract Ebola within the United States.
A spokesperson for Samaritan's Purse said Dr. Kent Brantly, the Fort Worth physician who survived Ebola after he was treated at Emory University Medical Center in Atlanta earlier this summer, donated blood to Pham on Sunday.
Brantly, who previously said he offered to donate blood to first Dallas Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan but was not a compatible blood type, went to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital to make a plasma donation.
Brantly didn't have to go far to make the blood donation for Pham. He recently moved back to North Texas after recovering from Ebola in Atlanta.
Pham tested positive for Ebola in tests from the Texas Department of State Health Services, and the diagnosis was confirmed in a test conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.
Pham is a 2010 graduate of Texas Christian University's nursing program and, according to NBC News, passed her Texas Board of Nursing registration exam the same year. On Aug. 1 of this year, Pham received her certificate in critical care nursing — less that two months before she would be part of the team treating Duncan.
A critical care nurse deals specifically with "life-threatening problems," and patients who are "vulnerable, unstable and complex, thereby requiring intense and vigilant nursing care," according to the website of the American Association of Critical Care Nurses, the body that certified Pham, NBC News reported.
Before college, Pham went to Nolan Catholic High School in Fort Worth and graduated in 2006.
"She was such a good science student," said Gaye Houk, one of Pham's high school teachers. "She was kind of one of our leaders in the science department. We had a lot from that group that went on to be nurses."
A family friend said Pham's family is very involved in the Catholic Church.
"Like her family, she is a very devoted individual," said Thomas Ha. "She will serve you first, before she takes care of herself."
Ha said Pham is dedicated to her profession.
"Instead of taking care of that patient as much as the medical ethics requires, she goes beyond that," said Ha. "She wants to save people."
Pham lives in Dallas, and her apartment on the 3700 block of Marquita Avenue was thoroughly cleaned and desanitized by a hazmat crew. Phase two of that cleaning began Monday afternoon, according to the City of Dallas. In the meantime, officials moved Pham's dog, Bentley, a spaniel breed, to a temporary location where it can be cared for and monitored for Ebola.
TCU Communications Director Lisa Albert said in a statement that they have no reason to suspect Pham had visited the Fort Worth campus while infected, while asking that they keep the alum in their thoughts and prayers.
Federal and local health officials are trying to identify how Pham became infected with Ebola while following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention safety protocols, which include wearing a gloves, a mask, a gown and a shield.
While it's still not clear how she became exposed, she has been working with CDC investigators to make sure no one else ends up in isolation.
CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden said Sunday that a "breach in protocol" led to the infection, though officials have not yet identified the source of the lapse. After some interpreted his statement as finding fault with either the nurse or hospital, Frieden clarified his statement on Monday.
"I spoke about a 'breach in protocol' and that's what we speak about in public health when we're talking about what needs to happen and our focus is to say, would this protocol have prevented the infection? And we believe it would have," Frieden said. "But, some interpreted that as finding fault with the hospital or the health care worker. And, I'm sorry if that was the impression given. That was certainly not my intention. People on the front lines are really protecting all of us. People on the front lines are fighting Ebola."
The state health department said Pham reported a low-grade fever Friday night and was moved to a 24-bed Intensive Care Unit at the hospital being used as an isolation unit. The preliminary test result confirming Ebola was received late Saturday in a process that took less than 90 minutes.
Texas Health Presbyterian in Dallas said a close contact of Pham's has already proactively been put into isolation at the hospital. The car Pham drove to the hospital has been decontaminated and secured. Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said everything the patient touched has been decontaminated to ensure everyone's safety.
"The enemy here is a virus. Ebola. It's not a person. It's not a country. It's not a place. It's not a hospital. It's a virus. It's a virus that's tough to fight. But together, I'm confident that we will stop it. What we need to do is all take responsibility for improving the safety of those on the front lines," Frieden said in a statement Monday. "I feel awful that a health care worker became infected in the care of an Ebola patient. She was there trying to help the first patient survive and now she has become infected. All of us have to work together to do whatever is possible to reduce the risk that any other health care worker becomes infected."
Ebola is spread through direct contact with bodily fluids of a sick person or exposure to contaminated objects such as needles. People are not contagious before symptoms, such as fever, develop.