The family of Ebola patient Amber Joy Vinson released a statement Sunday, indicating the Dallas nurse had not been careless in the days preceding her diagnosis.
The 29-year-old nurse had cared for Ebola victim Thomas Eric Dunan at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas in late September. According to previous reports, Vinson had worn protective gear while handling Duncan's bodily fluids before his death.
Vinson flew from Dallas to Cleveland Oct. 10, two days after Duncan died, to visit her mother and fiancé and to plan her upcoming wedding, a health official said.
According to her family, she had been in contact with Dallas County Health Department officials, who asked her to report her temperature twice a day after fellow nurse Nina Pham was diagnosed with Ebola. Vinson's family said she asked officials if she could fly back to Dallas a day early and place herself in a 21-day quarantine at the hospital.
"She was told that this was the first request of its kind, but that the agency would consider the option," her family said in a statement. "Once again, Amber was assured that she should not be alarmed and prompted to continue self-monitoring."
She flew back to Dallas Monday, Oct. 13, reported a 100.3 degree fever the following morning and checked herself into Presbyterian Hospital, according to the family. Vinson was flown to Atlanta's Emory Hospital to receive more specialized care following her Ebola diagnosis on Oct. 15.
"Suggestions that she ignored any of the physician and government-provided protocols recommended to her are patently untrue and hurtful," the family statement reads. "Although the majority of the correspondences we have received since her diagnosis have been positive, we are troubled by some of the negative public comments and media coverage that mischaracterize Amber and her actions. To be clear, in no way was Amber careless before or after her exposure to Mr. Thomas Eric Duncan. She has not and would not knowingly expose herself or anyone else."
Vinson's family also said they have retained a lawyer from Washington, D.C., and have asked for privacy.
"The past several days have been the most trying our family has collectively ever faced," they wrote. "We remain intensely prayerful and optimistic about Amber’s condition and of the treatment she is currently receiving. Our prayers and thoughts also go out to Amber’s colleague, Nina Pham, and the Dallas and Ohio communities impacted by this tragedy."