Nina Pham, who was infected with the Ebola virus a year ago while a nurse at a Texas hospital, arrived on Cape Cod Wednesday and plans to tell her story at a conference in Hyannis on Friday, according to the Massachusetts Nurses Association.
"The U.S. hospital industry was wholly unprepared to deal with Ebola, despite a looming crisis that had already infected and killed thousands of people in West Africa," the nurses' union said in an advisory about the panel at the MNA's convention. Before world health professionals and the people of Sierre Leone, Liberia and Guinea were able to stop its spread, the world's largest Ebola epidemic killed more than 11,000 people, according the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The crises across the Atlantic Ocean spurred concern in Massachusetts and elsewhere about a lack of protocol and safety equipment. The outbreak also motivated technological innovation as Diagnostics for All, a Cambridge non-profit, received state grant funding to complete development of a new field instrument to test whether a person contracted the disease.
Pham was infected at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, where a patient who had carried the disease from Liberia died. She is still experiencing the "after-effects of the experimental drugs that were used to treat her," according to the nurses association, which said Pham will be joined by Sean Kaufman, a bio-security expert. The Massachusetts Nurses Association said in Massachusetts only Anna Jaques Hospital in Newburyport has "followed through" on the union's demands for infectious disease protocols and equipment.