U.S. health workers rally on Facebook for Dallas nurse with Ebola

Oct 14, 2014

‘Made sacrifice to care for very sick man’

By Lisa Maria Garza

Dallas (Reuters) — Thousands of U.S. health workers have joined social media campaigns in the past few days to support a Texas nurse who became the first person infected with Ebola in the United States, which she contracted caring for a dying African patient at a Dallas hospital.
The nurse, Nina Pham, 26, was diagnosed over the weekend and is in an isolation unit at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, where she worked. She has been swept in questions on whether a lapse in infectious disease protocols was behind her becoming infected.

“She isn’t sick because she is a bad nurse, didn’t follow protocol or was inadequately trained. She is the RN (registered nurse) who made a sacrifice to care for a very sick man,” Roy Rannila, a staff member for the Texas hospital group caring for Pham wrote on his Facebook page.

One page called “Presby Strong and Proud,” which is less than two days old, had more than 1,500 “likes”. It shows photos of hospital staff wearing “PresbyProud” buttons and encourages health professionals to change their Facebook profile picture to the hospital’s network logo as a show of support for Pham.

A Facebook page, “Nurses for Nina”, has garnered over 4,500 “likes” in less than 24 hours and messages of support from health-care providers in areas such as Texas, Oklahoma, Arizona, Tennessee and Washington D.C.

Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said health authorities are still investigating how Pham became infected while caring for Thomas Eric Duncan, who contracted Ebola in his native Liberia and died last week at the Dallas hospital.

Frieden has also apologized for initial remarks that suggested a breach in protocol led to her being exposed her to the virus.

Pham said in a statement on Tuesday that she was doing well.

“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,” she added.

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