RAY HENRY, Associated Press
ATLANTA (AP) – Amber Vinson, the nurse who fueled Ebola fears by flying to Cleveland after being infected by her dying patient in Dallas, is now virus-free, and before getting out of the hospital on Tuesday was celebrated by her caregivers as courageous and passionate.
Dr. Bruce Ribner, an infectious disease expert who oversaw Vinson’s recovery at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, said at a midday news conference announcing Vinson’s release that fellow medical workers “deeply admire Ms. Vinson’s care and courage in caring for patients with serious communicable diseases.”
Vinson did not take any questions at the news conference. Instead, she read a statement thanking God, her relatives and her doctors, and asked “that we not lose focus on the thousands of families who labor under the burden of this disease in west Africa.”
Vinson, 29, was infected while caring for Thomas Eric Duncan, who died at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas on Oct. 8. She inserted catheters, drew blood, and dealt with Duncan’s body fluids, all while wearing protective gear to prevent transmission.
Ribner said her doctors in Atlanta don’t have any knowledge of how she got infected in Dallas. Neither would he release any details about her treatment, or whether certain drugs are proving more effective.
“The honest answer is we’re not exactly sure,” he said.
But Emory University Hospital spokeswoman Holly Korschun later confirmed that Vinson received blood plasma from Ebola survivor Kent Brantley, and said Ebola survivor Nancy Writebol also donated her plasma, but it wasn’t ultimately needed.
Another nurse, Nina Pham, also was infected by Duncan, and was released Oct. 24 from the National Institutes of Health.