Texas nurse Nina Pham is stable and in good spirits after being transported to a special hospital at the National Institutes of Health in Maryland to be treated for Ebola, officials said on Friday.
The state-of-the-art NIH clinical center _ nicknamed “House of Hope” _ is largest hospital in world dedicated to clinical research.
The facility is taxpayer-funded with an annual budget of $402 million. Pham and her family will not be billed for her treatment there, NIH doctors said.
The 26-year-old nurse was transported to the hospital in Maryland in a special ambulance on a stretcher with a tent over it.
She traveled with an intensive care physician with in full protective gear and arrived shortly before midnight on Thursday.
At the NIH hospital, Pham will receive round-the-clock treatment from a team of highly trained doctors.
Five nurses are assigned to her per shift, with two in the room with her at all times. Shifts are 12 hours long but will be shortened if Pham’s condition worsens to ensure the nurses don’t become fatigued.
Pham is exhausted, but is resting comfortably, interacting with her caregivers and eating, said Anthony Fauci, director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Her mother and sister are in the area to support her.
“She is a highly aware intelligent individual who knows exactly what’s going on,” Fauci said. He added, “She’s very brave.”
Pham will stay at NIH hospital “until she is well and clear of virus,” Fauci said.
“There is no specific treatment for the Ebola virus so we are giving her the best possible care on a symptomatic and systematic basis,” he said.
“We fully intend to have this patient walk out of this hospital and we'll to do everything we can to make that happen.”
Fauci said NIH would make their second bio-containment bed available to another Ebola patient if asked.
Pham is the first confirmed Ebola case that NIH has handled.
An American doctor hospitalized for possible Ebola infection at NIH on Sept. 28 was sent home Tuesday, Oct. 7, after testing negative for the virus. He was at risk after being stuck with a needle while volunteering in Sierra Leone.