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Nina Pham now in Maryland for Ebola treatment
Posted On : Friday,October17,2014 06:06:41 AM
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The first nurse to test positive for the Ebola virus arrived in Maryland Thursday evening on a chartered flight from Dallas, bound for treatment at a federal hospital outside Washington, D.C.,

Nina Pham, saying "I'm doing really well,'' left Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in an ambulance for a chartered small jet waiting at the city's Love Field. The plane departed at 7:09 p.m. CT and arrived at an airport at Frederick, Md., less than three hours later.

Pham walked off the plane with assistance while wearing a protective suit. She climbed into an ambulance for transport to the National Institutes of Health's state-of-the-art facility in Bethesda, Md.

Fellow health-care workers lined her path out of the Dallas hospital, cheering and waving signs expressing love and support for their colleague.

Pham contracted the virus while treating Thomas Eric Duncan, who died Oct. 8, at the Dallas hospital. A second nurse who caught the virus was transferred a day earlier to a hospital in Atlanta.

Officials at the Dallas hospital said Pham was being transferred out of concern the Ebola crisis had left it overwhelmed and short of critical staff.

"With so many of the medical professionals who normally staff our intensive care unit sidelined for the continuous monitoring, we felt it was in the best interest of the hospital's employees, the nurses, the physicians, the community, to give the hospital an opportunity to prepare for ... for whatever comes next," hospital spokesman Wendell Watson said.

The hospital released a statement from Pham thanking the hospital and others.

"I'm so thankful for the outpouring of love and support from friends and family, my coworkers and complete strangers. I feel very blessed and have gained strength from their support,'' she said. "I'm doing really well thanks to this team, which is the best in the world. I believe in my talented coworkers.''

Video released by Texas Health Resources shows Ebola patient Nina Pham in her hospital room before being trasferred to Maryland. VPC

Pham's condition "is stable and she seems to be doing reasonably well," Fauci told a U.S. House panel holding a hearing on the Ebola response. But he added that the NIH only has room for two Ebola patients.

The NIH said Pham will be treated in the Special Clinical Studies Unit "specifically designed to provide high-level isolation capabilities and is staffed by infectious diseases and critical care specialists."

Also Thursday, Ebola screening at four major U.S. airports was stepped up and some schools in Ohio and Texas closed as controversy intensified over efforts by federal health officials and Texas Health Presbyterian to protect Americans from the deadly virus.

The screenings began at Washington Dulles International, Newark Liberty International, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International and Chicago O'Hare International airports. Screening of passengers arriving from West Africa began Saturday at Kennedy International Airport in New York.

Agents with the Department of Homeland Security's Customs and Border Protection are intercepting travelers from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, taking their temperature and observing them for other Ebola symptoms. A passenger with symptoms will be isolated while personnel with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention determine whether the traveler can continue the trip or requires hospitalization.

But it's not just airline travel from West Africa that is causing concern.

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