DALLAS (AP) — The Texas nurse who became the first person to contract Ebola on American soil said Tuesday that she is doing well as her hospital expressed optimism about her recovery.
Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas released a statement on Nina Pham’s behalf Tuesday. The comments were her first since she became infected with Ebola while caring for a man from Liberia who later died of the disease.
“I’m doing well and want to thank everyone for their kind wishes and prayers,” Pham said.
The CEO of the hospital also put out a statement in which he said doctors and nurses “are working tirelessly to help her in this courageous fight. The doctors and nurses involved with her treatment remain hopeful.”
Pham was among about 70 staff members who cared for Duncan, according to medical records. She wore protective gear that included gowns, gloves, masks and face shields while caring for Duncan, but the 26-year-old nurse still became infected. Officials blamed it on a breach of protocol.
When Nina Pham’s mother learned her daughter was caring for Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan, Pham told her: “Mom, no. Don’t worry about me,” family friend Christina Tran told The Associated Press Monday at Our Lady of Fatima church in Fort Worth. About 30 people at the church gathered for the regular evening Mass, where they offered extra prayers for Pham.
Tran said she had spoken a few times to Pham’s mother, Ngoc Pham, since she found out Sunday that Nina Pham had been infected with the virus. She said Pham’s parents are doing well and praying for their daughter’s recovery.
Pham’s parents live in Fort Worth, where they are part of a closely knit, deeply religious community of Vietnamese Catholics. She is a Texas Christian University nursing school graduate.
The Rev. Jim Khoi, pastor at Our Lady of Fatima, said Ngoc Pham had spoken via video chat with her daughter and that she appeared to be in good spirits.
Pham’s mother “says she’s doing well,” Khoi said. “She’s calm. She trusts in God. And she asks for prayers.”
Khoi described the family’s relief that a recovered Ebola patient, Dr. Kent Brantly, provided a blood transfusion, calling it “golden blood.”
Duncan died Wednesday at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, where Pham works.