Nina Pham has been named as the nurse in Texas who has been diagnosed with Ebola. She is the first person to have contracted the disease in the United States. In a statement released after Pham was diagnosed she told the world:
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.
Here’s what we know so far:
1. How She Got Ebola Is a Mystery
Pham is believed to have contracted Ebola while she was treating Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian man who died of the virus on October 8. Her contact with Duncan has been described as “extensive.” Despite wearing protective equipment, Pham, like hundreds of health workers in Liberia, still contracted the disease. This is the CDC’s official guidelines on how to remove equipment:
According to the CDC, Pham is in “clinically stable” condition. The Dallas News reports that she is being kept in isolation. She was first admitted to hospital on October 10 after her temperature spiked. CBS Dallas reports that Pham is receiving plasma from Dr. Kent Brantley, who suffered from Ebola. The hope is that his antibodies will help Pham fight the virus.
The Director of the CDC Dr. Thomas Frieden apologized for indicating that it was Pham’s fault she got the virus. Her contraction was a result of a “breach of protocol” according to Frieden. It was reported by the Washington Post that Pham had worn full protective gear while treating Duncan.
2. She’s Been a Registered Nurse Since 2010
According to her profile on the Texas Board of Nursing website, she’s been a nurse since August 2010. She’s never faced disciplinary action. A friend, who wasn’t named, told the Dallas Morning News:
When she got accepted into nursing school, she was really excited about it. Her mom would tell her how it’s really hard and a bunch of her friends quit doing it because it was so stressful. But she was like, ‘This is what I want to do.’
The same article says that Pham received a bachelor of science in nursing in August. That information was posted on her now-deleted Facebook page.
3. Her Beloved Dog Will Not Be Destroyed
Pham’s beloved King Charles Cavalier dog will not be euthanized, according to Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings. The dog is being cared for by animal control. In Spain, where nurse Teresa Romero Ramos is also being treated for Ebola, he dog, Excalibur, was destroyed by health officials. Pham’s Pinterest page features dozens of pictures of her dog.
4. ‘Compassion Guided Her Nursing Career’
The family is very dedicated and go out of their way to help people. I expect, with the big heart that she has, she went beyond what she was supposed to do to help anyone in need.
Ha, an Allstate Insurance agent in Haltom City, Texas, added that her career was guided by compassion.
She was raised in the Fort Worth area of Texas in large Vietnamese family. Dallas has a 12,000 strong American-Vietnamese community. The Fort Worth Star Telegram reports that she was a student at Nolan Catholic High School.
5. Pham’s Apartment Is Being Quarantined
Throughout the weekend, health care workers had been quarantining and clearing Pham’s apartment. In addition to her home, the ER where she was first admitted has also been quarantined.