A look at sick nurses contact with Ebola patient


Published October 16, 2014 5:15AM (EDT)

DALLAS (AP) — Two nurses at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital who cared for a Liberian patient with Ebola have tested positive for the virus. Officials said the two have not been able to identify any specific breaches of protocol that might have led to them getting sick. But patient Thomas Eric Duncan's medical records, provided to The Associated Press by his family, do provide a picture of how nurses Nina Pham and Amber Joy Vinson interacted with him in the days between his arrival at the hospital Sept. 28 and his death Oct. 8:

Nina Pham, 26

Pham first saw Duncan the evening of Sept. 29, the day after he was taken by ambulance to the emergency room. Her notes indicate that he had arrived in the intensive care unit a couple of hours earlier. He was alert, but complaining of abdominal pain and chills.

The next morning, Pham noted a nurse entered Duncan's room wearing a face shield, double gown and protective footwear. It's not clear if she was referring to herself.

On Oct. 1, Pham wrote in her morning progress note that two nurses entered Duncan's room wearing Tyvek suits, respirators, triple booties, triple gloves and an apron. Her report describes nurses repositioning Duncan and providing emotional support. They later changed Duncan's gown and bed linens, turned and repositioned him and wiped down his arms. They also mopped the floor with bleach and wiped down surfaces. He said he was feeling better and asked to watch an action movie.

Pham was also in Duncan's room Oct. 7, the day before he died. Progress reports note he had loose, watery stool and nurses had difficulty inserting a needle at one point. Pham's notes describe nurses going in and out of Duncan's room wearing protective gear to treat him and to mop the floor with bleach.

She also notes that she and other nurses were ensuring Duncan's "privacy and comfort" and providing emotional support.

Amber Joy Vinson, 29

Vinson, like Pham, was actively engaged in caring for Duncan. She inserted catheters, drew blood and dealt with Duncan's body fluids.

She was with him Sept. 30, the day he tested positive for Ebola. And like Pham, the reports say she 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. He had extremely watery diarrhea, a fever of 102.7 and severe stomach pain. An hour later, Vinson inserted a catheter.

Early the next morning she came in again, wearing all the protective gear mentioned before and a respirator mask. Later that night she cared for him again, with similar protection and with Duncan exhibiting similar ailments.

Vinson herself wrote up progress notes two days before Duncan died, noting in the early dawn that a blood draw had inaccurate results.

The evening before Duncan died Vinson was again at his bedside, another nurse wrote. Vinson herself wrote that she entered the room wearing proper full protective equipment and gave him a bag of saline in an IV.



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