The pilot who flew a Dallas nurse with Ebola to Maryland for treatment Thursday says the task of ferrying patients with the deadly disease on life-saving missions is always gratifying, and says none of his crew members has had any problems.
Randy Davis, vice president of Phoenix Air, was the pilot who brought Nina Pham, 26, the first nurse to fall ill with Ebola after treating the first U.S.-diagnosed patient, from Dallas to Maryland on Thursday night. He had earlier helped fly now-recovered Ebola patient Nancy Writebol back from Liberia.
"You're always gratified when you know you're helping someone directly," Davis said. "You can see their face. You can see them walk in and out of your aircraft."
Davis is not nervous about the missions. "Not a single Phoenix Air flight crew personnel or medical personnel has had any problem whatsoever," he explained.
On the company's last two missions, there were two pilots in the cockpit and three medical staff members, including one person overseeing the process. That person doesn't wear protective gear, as he serves as the eyes and ears of the staff.
Davis' company has been a part of a dozen Ebola-related missions, but it wasn't until the last two days — when it flew Pham to Maryland, and her Ebola-stricken coworker Amber Vinson to Atlanta — that it had flown patients within the U.S.
"We're very happy that all the Americans we've brought home are still alive. Some of them have already walked out of their hospital," Davis said.
Nina Pham is currently "resting comfortably" at the National Institutes of Health in Maryland, where she was flown Thursday and is in fair but stable condition, officials said Friday.
Amber Vinson is being treated at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, where she was flown Wednesday, but neither the hospital nor her family have said Friday what her condition is.