The mother of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital nurse Amber Vinson said her daughter is recovering after contracting Ebola, but remains weak. Debra Berry also praised new travel screenings and health care precautions put in place since her daughter became ill, but said she wishes the policies had been implemented earlier to protect Vinson.
Vinson, 29, is receiving treatment at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. She and fellow nurse Nina Pham were diagnosed with the deadly virus in Dallas after treating an Ebola patient. “It is concerning. I guess more than anything, I’m so relieved that it’s in place now,” Berry said of the federal government’s new Ebola policies. “It should help ensure that no one has to endure what Amber and what Ms. Pham have had to go through these weeks, and their families.”
Vinson and Pham contracted Ebola while treating Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian national who was the first person to die of Ebola earlier this month at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. “She is doing OK, just trying to get stronger,” Berry said of her daughter to ABC News. “We talk to her when she’s not trying to sleep or avoid phone calls.”
Vinson’s family has hired celebrity lawyer Billy Martin, who has handled cases for Michael Vick, Wesley Snipes, Chandra Levy’s family and Monica Lewinsky’s mother. Vinson said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gave her permission to fly, after she reported having a fever but it “did not meet the fever threshold of 100.4.” A government official later told NBC News: “Vinson was not told that she could not fly.”
“Those who have exposures to Ebola, she should not have traveled on a commercial airline. The CDC guidance in this setting outlines the need for controlled movement. That can include a charter plane; that can include a car; but it does not include public transport. We will from this moment forward ensure that no other individual who is being monitored for exposure undergoes travel in any way other than controlled movement,” CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden said in a statement.
Vinson’s belongings have been removed from her apartment by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Crews in hazardous materials gear were photographed outside the apartment as teams carried out her things, according to local news reports. A family friend set up a GoFundMe page to help offset the costs of replacing Vinson’s belongings and expenses incurred by family members during her care and hospitalization at Emory.
Ohio officials are continuing to monitor residents who may have come in contact with her after she traveled by commercial plane from Dallas to northeast Ohio from Oct. 10-13.