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Dallas Nurse Amber Vinson: 'I'm So Grateful To Be Well'

Dallas nurse Amber Vinson was discharged from Emory University Hospital in Atlanta and spoke at a noon press conference.

“I’m so grateful to be well and first and foremost, I want to thank God,” Vinson said. “I believe with God, all things are possible.”

She also thanked the medical teams at Emory University Hospital and Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, as well as her family and Ebola survivors Nancy Writebol and Kent Brantly for donating plasma.

“While this is a day for celebration and gratitude, I ask that we not lose focus on the thousands of families who continue to labor under the burden of this disease in West Africa,” Vinson said.

Watch Vinson's remarks, courtesy of KXAS-TV (NBC 5):

Her statement echoed that of Dr. Bruce Ribner, medical director of Emory’s Serious Communicable Diseases Unit.

“The only way we’re truly going to make our citizens safe is if we control the outbreak in West Africa,” Ribner said. “We recognize there’s a lot of anxiety in the American public about this and we’re taking measures to secure [the Ebola virus].”

Ribner declined to share details of Vinson’s treatment, but said that her youth and the fact that she wore protective equipment while she cared for Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan were a factor in her recovery.

“We don’t have any magic formula,” he said. 

Vinson flew back to Dallas Tuesday night, arriving at Love Field. Colleagues from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital greeted her.

Obama says U.S. can't shy away from Ebola battle

President Barack Obama says the United States can't be seen as shying away from battle against Ebola.

Obama did not directly criticize quarantine policies for returning health care workers implemented in New York and New Jersey. But he says the response to Ebola needs to be sensible and "based on science," while supporting health care workers going overseas to fight the disease.

Obama says health care workers who go to Africa should be "applauded, thanked and supported." He says a robust response in Africa will stop the spread of the disease in the United States.

Credit Texas Health Resources
Emergency department nurses, medical technicians and doctors gathered in a break room at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas to watch nurse Amber Vinson's live press conference from Atlanta.

Reaction to Amber Vinson's release from Emory

Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital released the following statement on Vinson's discharge:

Today is a joyful day at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas. Amber Vinson is free of Ebola and coming home. Like many of her colleagues, she made a brave choice to volunteer and provide care for a critically ill Ebola patient. That led to a personal fight against the disease, and she is to be commended for her strength and courage. Amber and her fellow caregiver, Nina Pham, are an inspiration for healthcare workers nationwide, and we at Texas Health Dallas could not be more proud of them.

Texas Health Commissioner Dr. David Lakey also congratulated Vinson on her recovery.

"She is one of the health care workers who bravely provided care to the first Ebola patient diagnosed in the United States," he said in a statement. "Through excellent health care and her own courage, she beat the disease. Based on the clinical and lab findings, people are not at risk of getting the disease from her, and she has been completely cleared. We wish her the best as she transitions back to a normal life, and we welcome her back home to Texas."

Original post, 6:53 a.m.: Texas Health Presbyterian nurse Amber Vinson is free of the Ebola virus, according to an Emory University Hospital press release. 

Vinson was one of the nurses who treated Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan when he first arrived at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas on Sept. 28. He died Oct. 8.

Vinson developed a low fever on Oct. 13 while she was in Cleveland, Ohio. She was self-monitoring herself and had been cleared by the Centers for Disease Control to travel, a decision that has been under scrutiny. She later tested positive for the Ebola virus and was transferred to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta on Oct. 15. Her GoFundMe page, which was set up to help with medical costs, has raised a little more than $16,000.

She is the second Dallas nurse to have been infected with the virus. Nina Pham also contracted the virus and was transferred to the National Institutes of Health in Maryland. She was declared free of the Ebola virus and discharged Friday. The CDC is currently monitoring 97 people in Dallas for the virus, which includes the healthcare workers who cared for Pham and Vinson.

Former KERA staffer Krystina Martinez was an assistant producer. She produced local content for Morning Edition and She also produced The Friday Conversation, a weekly series of conversations with North Texas newsmakers. Krystina was also the backup newscaster for the Texas Standard.
Eric Aasen is KERA’s managing editor. He helps lead the station's news department, including radio and digital reporters, producers and newscasters. He also oversees, the station’s news website, and manages the station's digital news projects. He reports and writes stories for the website and contributes pieces to KERA radio. He's discussed breaking news live on various public radio programs, including The Takeaway, Here & Now and Texas Standard, as well as radio and TV programs in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.