Since childhood, Amber Joy Vinson (pictured) has wanted to work in health care. That’s why she was excited to become a nurse at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas.
“She wanted to help people,” Diane Sloane Rhynes, whose late brother was married to Vinson’s mother for several years, told 11 Alive. “Amber has always been kind and compassionate.”
Rhynes told the news station that the last time she saw Vinson was in 2011, when she was working in the intensive care unit at Summa Akron City Hospital and planning to move out of state for another job.
But the next time she heard about the 29-year-old medical professional was on the news this week when reports surfaced that she had become the latest nurse to contract Ebola, after a treating Thomas Eric Duncan for Ebola before he died on Oct. 8th.
Concern was raised about her diagnosis, because last week, Vinson left Dallas to fly to Ohio to plan her wedding and visit family. She returned on Monday, boarding a Frontier Airlines, even though she had a fever of 99.5 degrees, reports say.
Vinson reportedly decided to travel after receiving permission from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Public health officials are interviewing passengers that were on the flight with Vinson and answering their questions, reports say.
The Akron, Ohio-area native has two degrees from Kent State University, where three of her relatives, including her mother, work.
Watch news coverage on Amber Vinson of Dallas contracting Ebola here:
Texas Hospital Under Fire
Meanwhile, one of her colleagues, Briana Aguirre, a nurse at the hospital, said the institution dropped the ball with Duncan and staff was not trained to handle the emergency.
Aguirre told NBC‘s “Today” in a Skype interview that staff never discussed how it would handle such an emergency.
“We never talked about Ebola, and we probably should have,” she said in the interview “They gave us an optional seminar to go to — just informational, not hands-on. It wasn’t even suggested that we go.”
Further, she told the news station: “We were never told what to look for.”
A day before the bombshell revelation, Dr. Daniel Varga, the chief clinical officer for Texas Health Services, issued an apology:
“We did not correctly diagnose his symptoms as those of Ebola,” he said. We are deeply sorry,” he said.
Hospital officials, though, defended their actions in a statement released Thursday, saying they followed guidelines established by the CDC after Duncan was diagnosed.
Aguirre, who did not treat Duncan, did treat her friend and colleague nurse Nina Pham, who was diagnosed Sunday. Vinson was diagnosed Tuesday.
While treating Pham, Aguirre told the news station that she was given given some protective gear, but several inches around her neck was exposed to the open air.
“I threw a fit,” she said during the interview. “I just couldn’t believe it. Why would I be wearing three pairs of gloves, three pairs of booties, a plastic suit covering my entire body and then leave my neck hanging out this much so that something can potentially go close to my mouth or nose?”
Her complaint echoed those from earlier this week when a larger group says they were given hospital gowns and had to secure their gloves with medical tape.