After treating Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan, who died on Oct. 8, nurse Amber Vinson headed to northeast Ohio to make plans for her upcoming wedding. Now 153 people are being monitored in that state because of contact or potential contact with Vinson, who has since been diagnosed with the disease. Three people have been placed under quarantine. None of them have exhibited Ebola-like symptoms.
According to Cleveland’s FOX affiliate, Vinson’s family issued a statement Sunday, warding off suggestions that the Dallas nurse had been careless in her travels. The family’s statement defends the nurse who was diagnosed with Ebola following her trip to Ohio.
In the statement, which was issued through a spokesman, the family says that suggestions that Vinson ignored protocols recommended to her by health officials are false and that her body temperature was reported three times before she boarded her flight back to Dallas.
Ebola is spread through bodily fluids. Someone who is infected doesn’t become contagious until she shows symptoms. Health officials say that Vinson did exhibit symptoms in Ohio.
An excerpt from the family’s statement follows:
The past several days have been the most trying our family has collectively ever faced. We remain intensely prayerful and optimistic about Amber’s condition and of the treatment she is currently receiving…
Amber is the shining light of our family and truly an exceptionally good and caring young woman. She is a loving daughter, granddaughter, sister, friend, and soon-to-be wife. Furthermore, Amber is a deeply committed nurse driven by a fundamental passion for helping others. To be clear, in no way was Amber careless prior to or after her exposure to Mr. Thomas Eric Duncan. She has not and would not knowingly expose herself or anyone else.
Before traveling, Amber, working through her Texas Health Resources Presbyterian Hospital assistant manager, contacted the CDC and was fully cleared for travel. On Sunday, while in Ohio, Amber received word that Ms. Pham, a colleague she worked closely with during treatment of Mr. Duncan, had been diagnosed with Ebola.
She reported that she was fine and provided her temperature reading at that time. By phone, county officials read Amber a letter that contained information about symptoms to observe and report should they develop. She was also told to continue self-monitoring and was asked to report these results twice daily to the agency. During this conversation, Amber, unsettled by the news of Ms. Pham, asked if arrangements could be made for her to fly her back to Dallas on Sunday as a precaution…
One day after returning to Dallas, on the morning of Tuesday, October 14th, Amber first reported a temperature of 100.3 degrees to the Dallas County Department of Health. Immediately after, Amber proactively admitted herself to Texas Health Resources Presbyterian Hospital, and has been quarantined since.
Suggestions that she ignored any of the physician and government-provided protocols recommended to her are patently untrue and hurtful. In the interest of Amber and our family, we have retained esteemed attorney Billy Martin to provide us with legal counsel during this unfortunate and troubling time. We also ask that the media respect our privacy. All media inquires should be directed to Steven Jumper.
We thank everyone for their prayers and support.”
In the meantime, friends and family of Duncan remembered him at an emotional service in North Carolina Saturday. The 42-year-old was the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S. and the first, and so far only, person to have died from the disease in this country.