Jenkins: Ebola Nurses Moved So Presbyterian Can Be Ready If There Are New Patients | KERA News

Jenkins: Ebola Nurses Moved So Presbyterian Can Be Ready If There Are New Patients

Oct 16, 2014

The first nurse to contract Ebola is being moved to Maryland to make room at Texas Health Presbyterian in case there are other Ebola patients in Dallas, County Judge Clay Jenkins told KERA.

“The team at Presby is extremely concerned about the two family members [the nurses] who have Ebola and the 75 who are in that zone of risk,” Jenkins told KERA earlier this afternoon. “They’re tired. There’s a wealth of emotions. And to the extent that I can, I want them to be focused on the intake of potentially more people.”

Nina Pham, the first nurse to contract Ebola, is scheduled to be moved later today to the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. The second nurse to contract Ebola, Amber Joy Vinson, was transported Wednesday night to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.

The 75 hospital workers in the "zone of risk" that Jenkins described were involved in Duncan’s care.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, at an earlier press conference about the Dallas Ebola response.
Credit Bill Zeeble / KERA News

“I want all of the Ebola emergency visits at Presbyterian -- because of the public fear in some places -- I don’t want anyone who needs to go to the emergency room to be reluctant to go to the emergency room,” Jenkins said. “So I’m directing all people with a West African travel history and a fever to be taken to Presby.”

He added: “My focus is on the contingencies if this gets to be a larger outbreak than we all hope and pray that it is.”

Jenkins was in the KERA studios for an interview with NPR. That conversation is scheduled to air later Thursday on “All Things Considered.”

“All Things Considered” airs from 4-6:30 p.m. on KERA 90.1 FM.

NPR's Melissa Block asked Jenkins why he didn't wear personal protective gear while visiting Thomas Eric Duncan's relatives.

"I wanted them to see me as a person and an equal and I wanted to see them as a person and an equal," Jenkins said. "I had to convince them to leave their house and go to a place they'd never seen before and I wanted to treat them with the same compassion that I would want Louise to treat my family member or me if my family were going through this."

Listen and read the interview here.