The first person to contract Ebola on U.S. soil — Nina Pham, a nurse from Texas who says her hospital failed to prepare for a known crisis — will speak to MNA members at the association’s annual convention in October.
Pham will join Sean Kaufman, an expert in infectious disease control, during Friday’s session, "The Ebola Crisis: Containment Strategies for the Clinical Treatment of Ebola – the Nurses Role."
Although virus-free today, Pham is still dealing with the after-effects of the experimental drugs that were used to treat her. What she went through has made Pham eager to share her experience with other nurses.
Last fall, after she was successfully treated, President Obama hugged Pham. The president said he wanted to thank healthcare workers like Pham, a nurse who had cared for an Ebola patient, and who had contracted the deadly disease herself. He also wanted to educate the public.
“I want to use myself as an example, just so that people have a sense of the science here,” Obama said.
Pham was 26 years old when she began treating a Liberian man diagnosed with Ebola last September at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. Beginning in December 2013, the disease infected and killed thousands of people in West Africa. Shortly after Pham treated her patient – without the aid of proper training or equipment – she became the first person on U.S. soil to contract Ebola.
Despite what Pham has said was her hospital’s failure to prepare for an impending medical crisis, she survived. After transferring to the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, Pham was declared virus-free on Oct. 24, 2014.
A year later, Pham will use her experience to educate nurses at the MNA’s 2015 Convention about how to protect themselves. Her story will be part of a program by Sean Kaufman, a bio-security expert who oversaw infection control at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta while it treated Ebola patients.
To hear from Nina Pham, and learn from one of the world’s top disease control experts, register for the Hyannis convention, being held Oct. 7-9. Go to http://www.massnurses.org/news-and-events/events/p/event/9554#Registration.