ShareThis Page
Nurse with Ebola faults her training |

Nurse with Ebola faults her training

The Associated Press

ATLANTA — A nurse who was infected with Ebola as a result of treating a sick patient said she did not have enough training beforehand on how to protect herself.

“The first time that I put on the protective equipment, I was heading in to take care of the patient,” Amber Vinson told NBC’s “Today” show Thursday.

Vinson was one of the more than 70 medical personnel involved in the care of Thomas Eric Duncan in Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas. After being sent home from the emergency room Sept. 26, Duncan returned two days later and was quickly diagnosed with the virus. He died Oct. 8.

“We didn’t have excessive training where we could don and doff, put on and take off the protective equipment, till we got a level of being comfortable with it,” Vinson said. “I didn’t have that, and I think that’s very important for hospitals across the nation, big and small.”

Vinson flew Oct. 13 on a commercial jet from Cleveland to Dallas, one day before feeling the first symptoms of her virus. She said she monitored her temperature and checked in with health officials before flying. She said reports that she felt sick while traveling were false.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta has acknowledged that Vinson was not stopped from flying. CDC Director Tom Frieden later said that was a mistake on the agency’s part.

“I would never go outside of guidelines or boundaries or something directly from the CDC telling me I can’t go (or) I can’t fly,” Vinson said.

Vinson attended to Duncan on Sept. 30, the day he tested positive for Ebola, according to medical records that his family released to The Associated Press. Like another nurse who became infected, Nina Pham, the reports note that Vinson wore protective gear and a face shield, hazardous materials suit, and protective footwear. At the time, Duncan’s body fluids were highly infectious if someone made contact with them. At one point, Vinson inserted a catheter into Duncan.

She said she became fearful after learning that fellow nurse Pham, who also treated Duncan, was suspected of having Ebola.

“I was floored,” she said. “I was afraid for myself and my family because I did everything that I was instructed to do every time, and I felt like if Nina can get it, any one of us could have gotten it.”

Vinson said Thursday that she feels good, but still gets tired sometimes. Asked whether she would be willing to treat another Ebola patient, Vinson said, “Absolutely.”

Medical experts say an Ebola patient who survives the disease gains lasting immunity to the strain with which they were infected.

Also Thursday, Texas health officials said the last of 177 people known to have been in contact with Duncan, Pham or Vinson would come off monitoring Friday. None of those people became infected.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.