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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Second Nurse With Ebola Arrives in Atlanta; Interview with Dr. Kent Brantly; Parents of Nebraska Ebola Patient Speak Out; Nurse Called CDC Before Boarding Plane
Aired October 15, 2014 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. Thanks for joining us. We are live from Dallas tonight with breaking news about a second nurse who tested positive for Ebola and who is right now arriving in Atlanta for treatment at Emory University Hospital.
I want to show you the live images that we're looking at right now, that is the ambulance that the nurse has just gotten into. She just flew in to Atlanta, was able to walk off the aircraft in a complete hazmat suit. Completely covered. She was escorted by other health care workers who were also dressed similarly. But she was able to walk on her own accord into a waiting ambulance.
And there you see the procession of law enforcement vehicles and health officials who are going to be escorting her to Emory University Hospital.
The breaking news just in from chief medical correspondent -- actually, in fact, let's take a look at her getting off the plane. Let's take away from those live images. We'll show you the images which occurred just a few minutes ago. You see her in the yellow suit being escorted slowly into that waiting ambulance.
Obviously, an abundance of caution that those health care workers are showing Amber Vinson, this nurse, who today it was revealed has tested positive. The second health care worker at Dallas Presbyterian Hospital who has tested positive for Ebola.
The breaking news, as I was saying, just in from chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, that the reason, the reason she was moved from Texas Presbyterian Hospital is because of concerns that health care workers there, or here, are going to walk out and there won't be enough people to actually treat this new case.
We're going to have more on that in a moment.
The nurse, 29-year-old Amber Vinson, there have been concerns because she flew on a commercial flight from Cleveland to Dallas just two days ago and already had a fever at that time. So now officials are trying to track down all 132 passengers on that flight. I should say her temperature was elevated.
There is more breaking news tonight. Dr. Sanjay Gupta has learned from a CDC official that Vinson called the CDC before she got on that flight and got the OK to go. Now this is a bit confounding considering what the head of the CDC said just today. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. THOMAS FRIEDEN, CDC DIRECTOR: She was in a group of individuals known to have exposure to Ebola. She should not have travelled on a commercial airline.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: All right, so we have a lot to get to tonight. We begin with chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
Sanjay, so talk to me about what you've heard, the latest about her temperature, her elevated temperature, and who she called before the flight.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, so we know that she had flown from Dallas to Cleveland on the 10th, that was going to fly back from Cleveland to Dallas on the 13th. She was self- monitoring, meaning taking her own temperature. We know that her temperature was 99.5.
And it sounds like she did the right thing at that point which was to call someone at the CDC. From my understanding, we've confirmed this with government officials. She -- made that call, told them what her temperature was, told them that she was going to get on the flight and was not told that she shouldn't board the flight. She was given no guidance that that flight was a no-no. Anything like that. And that's why she did get on that flight and fly back to Dallas. Again, Anderson, with that temperature of 99.5.
A little bit of context, and you and I have talked about this. With a temperature -- elevated temperature like that and this history of recently having taken care of a patient with Ebola, had she been in West Africa she would have been flagged for secondary screening and likely not been able to get on a plane. That didn't happen here in the United States in Cleveland -- Anderson.
COOPER: Which is pretty stunning. So let's just -- I mean, let's just consider that for a second. Had she been flying out of Monrovia and Liberia, in all likelihood she would not have been able allowed to get on the plane because she had come into direct contact with an Ebola patient and she had an elevated temperature.
The fact that she was able to do that in the United States, I mean, does it make sense to you, Sanjay, from a medical standpoint, that someone at the CDC would tell her it's OK to fly? And then the next day --
GUPTA: Well --
COOPER: -- the temperature goes up even higher and she -- and they isolate her.
GUPTA: Yes, and she gets sick. You know, from what I understand is now obviously going to be here in about 20 minutes or so at Emory. It doesn't make complete sense at all. I tried to really drill down on this a bit. And part of -- part of the answers came back, well, when she was taking care of Mr. Duncan, we were told she was wearing personal protective gear. So they thought that that lowered her chance of being a risk.
I don't know. You know, it's one of these things again. Obviously it didn't lower enough because she got the infection. But just the history. Just taking care of a patient with Ebola. And now I have a temperature that is starting to rise, I'm about to get on a commercial airline. Is there a problem? She is not told.
Now to be -- I want to be precise in the language here. When she said I have an elevated temperature, I'm going to be flying, they didn't say it's OK to fly. But they also didn't give her any guidance that said there was any sort of problem with it. So despite the guidance from the CDC on this so-called controlled movement, she did not appear to be told that despite her call to the CDC with an elevated temperature.
COOPER: And I mean, given what the CDC themselves know about what has gone on inside this hospital in terms of the lack of protocols or the failure to follow protocols, or the inadequacy of the protocols that are in place, whichever of those three options it is, or maybe some combination of all three, it's surprising that they would say well, they had personal protection gear.
Because we now know there are a lot of questions about exactly what sort of gear, particularly in those first 24 or 48 hours even before Thomas Eric Duncan was confirmed to have Ebola about what kind of gear they actually wore.
GUPTA: Yes -- no question. And I think that's part of what you are hearing from Dr. Frieden today. You know, he was saying based on our guidance we would have never let her get on a commercial airline. If -- harder if you get to fly at all or drive in a car. The personal protective gear did not enter into his comments today. He was merely saying during his comments that if someone had been taking care of a patient with Ebola had the risk profile that Amber Vinson had, that she would have -- she wouldn't have qualified to get on a commercial flight.
So it is -- it is very, very different than the experience that she had. Sounds like again, she did the right thing, took her temperature, saw that it was elevated, made the call and was not given the guidance to avoid that flight -- Anderson.
COOPER: Sanjay, I mean, does it seem like you -- to you that certainly this hospital is basically just circling the wagons. And I mean, you know, it seems to me there is a lack of transparency here. We know very little. They've made very few public statements if any, about what has actually occurred inside that hospital. About what procedures were in place.
And the pathetic statement that they put out in response to -- to this nurses' union which put out really serious and shocking allegations about what these nurses have had to deal with inside this hospital. They put out a non-statement statement. They put out a statement saying, well, there is a 24-hour helpline and we have annual, you know, staff testing or annual staff training. They don't even respond to any of the allegations. Very serious allegations that had been made more than 24 hours ago.
GUPTA: They say they're dedicated to the compliance and safety of their personnel and stuff like that. They didn't address the specific concerns about --
COOPER: Right, but apparently not enough to tell them --
GUPTA: -- and all that.
COOPER: Right. I mean, they're dedicated to the safety of their personnel, but I mean, they're telling their personnel to wear medical tape around their necks. That doesn't seem like the most sensible solution.
GUPTA: Not at all. I mean, it's -- I agree with you. I think there's been a real lack of transparency. When I was trying to really get more information today, Anderson, why is this patient, Amber Vinson, being transferred here to Emory? Be showing up here in just a little bit. Because it didn't make perfect sense to me. You know, there is not a magic treatment here at Emory necessarily. Was this such an issue of basically they can't take care of her in Dallas?
And surprising to me, but that seems to be the answer. That there is a concern about furloughs. There is a concern about staffers not showing up for work. There is a concern about nurses walking out and not being able to take care of these patients.
This is a big hospital. I mean, I have colleagues who work at that hospital. This is a big deal in the medical world that they're basically sort of surrendering in a way Miss Vinson's care to another hospital because they just don't think they can handle it. And again, it's not because Emory has some magic potion here. Just -- they just don't think that they can handle it because of what is happening, what has transpired over the last week -- Anderson.
COOPER: And later on in the program, I'm going to talk to the medical workers in Liberia, who say, look, it's not even a question of having high technology or anything. The facilities they have, the personal protection equipment they have is not the most sophisticated. But it is just rigorous training and rigorous -- you know sticking to protocols.
I want to bring in senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen, also Dr. Seema Yasmin is joining us. She's staff writer at the "Dallas Morning News," professor of public health at the University of Texas at Dallas and a former CDC disease detective.
Elizabeth, you've been hearing and I know Sanjay has as well about, you know, we've been talking about the CDC protocols all along. What the CDC says is sort of rock solid scientific evidence about when somebody can transmit this virus. They've now lowered what a temperature actually is on their Web site.
Can you explain this?
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I know that they're discussing it. Here's what I heard from an official. So Miss Vinson was about to get on the flight and she called and said I have a 99.5 temperature. The person who she talked to looked in their little guidelines, looked in their guidelines and said, well, it's not considered a sign of Ebola until it reaches 100.4 so you can get on the plane. So it was 99.5 and 100.4, that's what allowed her to get on the plane.
And what I'm hearing from an official is, you know, we're thinking about should we reconsider that? Maybe we should lower that threshold down?
COOPER: Sanjay, wasn't -- didn't -- when you and I originally talked about this, wasn't the threshold supposedly 101.4?
GUPTA: 101.5 was the threshold. And that's listed on some of the CDC documents. Even over the date today we've started really diving into this and we saw some of those documents have changed. And I want to tell you another important piece of news regarding that. I tried to find out. What is -- is this changing? Is this a strategic change? What's going on here? What is -- what constitutes a fever and symptoms when it comes to Ebola?
And what we heard was that the first nurse, Nina Pham, when she started to develop symptoms of Ebola, her temperature was not 101.5. Her temperature was lower than 101.5.
Now that's significant, Anderson, because this idea that we sort of look at these benchmarks and say, you don't have to worry about it until it's a certain temperature that really didn't seem to apply to Nina Pham and that is why the 101.5 was then lowered, at least according to these officials, to 100.4. And the point is that it's changing, it's not as firm as I think people would like to believe.
She had symptoms and was diagnosed with Ebola despite not having the fever that people typically use as a benchmark for Ebola.
COOPER: So, Dr. Yasmin, when we hear now, OK, suddenly it's one degree less which may not sound like a lot to a lot of people, but it is a significant difference. It may -- it begs the question, does the CDC really have their hands around this? I mean, do they really know exactly all they need to know about Ebola?
DR. SEEMA YASMIN, FORMER CDC DISEASE DETECTIVE: Right, Anderson, and this is very confusing for many health care workers. In medical school we're taught, a fever is technically 101.4. So suddenly we're lowering it, we're increasing it again. And misinformation, miscommunication is really unacceptable at a time like when we need to be singing from the same hymn sheet. We need to know exactly what constitute a fever for a suspect patient with Ebola.
COOPER: I am surprised, Elizabeth, at the lack of transparency from this hospital. I mean, they -- you know, I mean, I know doctors don't like to criticize each other and they don't want to -- you know, have a lawsuit or more than they're already going to have. But they haven't come forward at all with any information.
COOPER: And it's not a question of like I just want to know. It is a question of, other hospitals out there need to know about what went right here and what went wrong and nobody really has any idea. We're hearing drips and drabs from this nurses' union who said they're talking -- you know, to nurses who are too afraid to come forward.
COHEN: This hospital has said almost nothing.
COHEN: The three weeks that I've been here and when I ask them questions that would protect the public health, they either don't get back to me or they write back to me saying, we're not going to respond to you. And I was here for that very first press conference that the city and the officials had and everybody was saying, what happened? Why didn't you admit this guy when he first showed with signs of Ebola?
And an official said that's navel-gazing, that's what he called it. That's navel gazing.
COOPER: Or the other thing --
COHEN: We don't want to gaze at our navel
COOPER: Right --
COHEN: Like no, it's not navel-gazing, it's important.
COOPER: Right. The other thing people always say in these situations and we've seen this time and time again. We saw this in Katrina. We've seen this, you know, they say this is not the time to be pointing fingers, well, you know what? This is actually the time to be pointing fingers because there's other hospitals out there, there's thousands of nurses and doctors around the country who are potentially at risk.
And we need to know what works and what doesn't. And right now we have no idea what happened.
COHEN: Think of it as -- think of it not as pointing fingers but as root cause analysis. You need to get to the root cause of why so many things have gone wrong. And so when an official calls that navel- gazing he is making fun of it. When in fact it's really crucial. They -- so many things have gone wrong they need to figure out why.
COOPER: I mean, Dr. Yasmin, I -- you know, I all along has sort of had a sense that the CDC sort of had a clue about what was going on. I mean, as each day goes by, I've got to say my confidence has been slipping and today it slipped a lot with word of -- I mean, some of the information that has been dripping out. There have been a number of media reports.
And we haven't been able to independently confirm yet that for the first two days in this hospital before Thomas Eric Duncan was actually proven to have Ebola, that he was already in isolation, some of the nurses didn't have to wear protective gear. They were wearing their regular scrubs.
YASMIN: We have to know -- so, Anderson, in a situation like this, CDC is a federal agency but whenever they come into a state they don't have leadership authority.
COOPER: That's what's interesting. I don't think a lot of people get that.
YASMIN: They can advise -- absolutely. And I left, I'm not working at the CDC, and what's astonishing to me, as a British person, that the American law didn't work like that. But it is a fact. That the state and the local health officials have jurisdiction. They have the power to take CDC recommendations but they don't have to do what CDC tells them to do.
COOPER: It's interesting, Sanjay, on that point, I mean, we -- you know, the director of the CDC has come under a lot of criticism and certainly some of the statements he made early on. I think it's fair game for that criticism because he -- maybe he acted sort of -- pretended there was more confidence than there really was. But he clearly seems frustrated, though. He's unwilling to directly criticize this hospital.
He clearly seems frustrated at the lack of power they have. I mean, it's not as if -- you know, in movies, CDC comes in, they -- they take over everything. That's not the way it works here at all. This hospital is calling the shots. It's local, it's state health officials.
GUPTA: As you point out that does surprise a lot of people, people think the CDC is going to swoop in. And I sense that same frustration on one of the earliest press conferences that he did. He was answering questions but clearly there were questions that should have been directed more at the local health officials down there that Dr. Frieden was sort of answering.
One point to make here I think is that, you know, this is still a -- it's a local health issue in Dallas. But if this is deemed more of a national issue which it could be, now considering that you had a patient fly -- back, at the time when she even had a low grade temperature. What the CDC's authority is going to be at that point.
So let me just point out as well, Anderson, I can hear in the distance, we're right here in front of Emory Hospital. I can hear the helicopters which are the local press helicopters following this ambulance convoy, which you may see, I don't know if you have images of it, Anderson, but they're going to be pulling in here shortly with Miss Vinson. They're going to be coming in just to a building, just not too far from us here in just a little bit now, it seems -- Anderson. COOPER: And I'm going to talk also to Dr. Kent Brantly, who was
treated at Emory, the first American to be treated there when he was the first American flown with Ebola into this country. I'll talk to him a little bit about what he saw inside Emory, what the treatment there was like.
Sanjay, thanks very much. Elizabeth Cohen, thanks. Dr. Seema Yasmin, as well.
A lot of cover in this hour. President Obama canceled his travel schedule today to meet with cabinet members who are coordinating the country's Ebola response.
Senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta joins me now live with more on that.
So what did the president say today? Did he acknowledge that there are real problems?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It was basically an acknowledgment from the president, Anderson, that the CDC has had some mishaps, missteps in dealing with the Ebola response down in Dallas. You know, he cancelled that campaign trip, as you said, and he called his cabinet into what was a pretty lengthy meeting over here at the White House.
And as he came out in front of the cameras later on in the afternoon he basically said he has called on his administration to get aggressive. Here is what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As a consequence, what we've been doing here today is reviewing exactly what we know about what's happened in Dallas and how we're going to make sure that something like this is not repeated. And that we are monitoring, supervising, overseeing in a much more aggressive way exactly what's taking place in Dallas initially and making sure that the lessons learned are then transmitted to hospitals and clinics all across the country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: Now the president went on to say that he still believes that the odds of an outbreak in the United States are extraordinarily low, as he put it.
But, Anderson, the president went on to say that when he was at Emory, when he was at Atlanta, and he met with some of the nurses and doctors who had treated some of the Ebola patients there that he hugged and kissed them. So he was trying to send home the point about how this virus is spread and he wants people to not panic and to not lose their cool.
So at this point, Anderson, they're not so much concerned about an Ebola outbreak but an outbreak of fear. COOPER: But, I mean, I've got to say, that fear is understandable,
given that now you have the second nurse who got on a flight to return to Dallas. And within 24 hours self-reported a fever. And was in isolation, is now, you know, being flown to Emory. If I was one of the people on that flight I would certainly be concerned. And it just shows the tenuous nature of this and how one person, you know, making the wrong move, getting on a flight that they clearly should not have gotten on --
COOPER: According to the director of the CDC, can spread this thing.
Jim, I appreciate the reporting --
ACOSTA: And that's exactly right.
COOPER: A quick reminder, make sure you -- yes. Yes.
Make sure you set your DVRs so you can watch 360 whenever you want.
Coming up, one of the few people who has survived Ebola, he is still helping other patients, donating his plasma to them. He's donated plasma to three people so far.
My conversation with Dr. Kent Brantly next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. KENT BRANTLY, EBOLA VIRUS SURVIVOR: Health care workers go into this profession to serve people, to relieve suffering, to cure disease, to come alongside people in the worst times of their lives. And now here we have a second health care worker in Dallas who was doing just that for a patient who was suffering greatly and now she's sick. It just made my heart sink.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Welcome back to breaking news tonight.
Amber Vinson, the second Dallas nurse to contract Ebola has arrived in Atlanta, is on the way to Emory University Hospital. She'll arrive any moment now for treatment.
I want to show you the pictures we saw just right before we went on air tonight, of her getting off the plane at the airport, being loaded or being able to walk on her own accord into an ambulance.
Sanjay Gupta is standing by at Emory.
Has she arrived yet there at the hospital, Sanjay?
GUPTA: It sounds like it, Anderson. That there is a bunch of helicopters overhead now, which are obviously news choppers. We heard several sirens going off. I think this is the beginning of the convoy. You might be even looking at aerials, I can't see those, but the police cars and an escort. This is the exact scenario that we've seen before with Dr. Kent Brantly. I know you're going to be talking to him and Nancy Writebol.
That same ride, that same ambulance ride over from Dobbins Air Force Base over here to Emory University Hospital. There is an -- right behind me over here, Anderson, you probably can't see that considering the lighting. But the ambulance now it looks it's just pulling out, it's going to go into this building right behind me over here. That is the hospital.
And there is the back entrance there, not the main entrance, the back entrance, which once she gets in, I understand, she is walking, she can go almost straight up then to the isolation area where she'll be cared for and again where Dr. Brantly --
COOPER: And Sanjay --
GUPTA: -- had been cared for, as well.
COOPER: Sanjay, based on your reporting and what you've been learning today, I mean, this is really in one sense an admission by this hospital here in Dallas of concerns about staffing, concerns about their capabilities to actually care for this nurse who contracted Ebola inside the hospital here.
GUPTA: It really does seem like this. And it's disappointing, I think, Anderson, in a way you're in front of a very well-known, prestigious hospital that has done great work and will continue to do great work. But with regard to this particular issue, there is no -- there is no magic treatment here at Emory. There is not a magic potion or something.
The reason she is being sent here is because they felt -- it sounds like from a staffing issue. And otherwise, they couldn't contain Ebola and they were worried that other staff members would get sick. They was concerned that because of furloughs, people not showing up for work and even threats of walkouts by nurses that they were just going to be in tough shape to be able to continue to care for Amber Vinson. So I think it's disappointing obviously for them. That's part of what's driving this convoy here.
COOPER: And as you said, it's not a question of getting the best technology. Certainly Emory has that in terms of the protective gear.
I talked to Dr. McCormick who treated Ebola patients in Africa years ago. Early on. They used the same cloth gowns over and over that they would soak in chlorine at the end of the day because they didn't have a lot of protective gear. It's about really just having protocols in place that you follow religiously and have people monitoring you so that you don't make mistakes which is sort of basically just human nature to make mistakes.
Sanjay, we'll talk to you again.
In the midst of the Ebola crisis, there are a few success stories. And we do want to focus on some of them. One of them is of course is Dr. Kent Brantly, an Ebola survivor. He and Nancy Writebol, another American missionary worker, contracted the virus, as you know, when they were caring for Ebola patients in Liberia. They were treated at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, and both of them recovered.
Here's Dr. Brantly who I talked to earlier today saying good-bye to the team who cared for him. He was released back in late August. But his work, helping Ebola patients has not stopped. Dr. Brantly donated plasma to three patients in the United States. Dr. Rick Sacra, his colleague at Samaritan's Purse, a freelance cameraman from NBC, Ashoka Mukpo, both in Nebraska Medical Center, and most recently, in Dallas, to Nurse Nina Pham.
And Dr. Brantly also continues to advocate passionately for patients in West Africa. I should point out also he offered to give blood to Thomas Eric Duncan, but they weren't the same blood type.
I spoke with Dr. Brantly earlier today.
COOPER: First of all, how are you feeling?
BRANTLY: I feel good.
COOPER: Do you feel back to full strength?
BRANTLY: I don't know when I'll say I feel back to normal.
BRANTLY: But my strength, my stamina, my energy are improving a lot. I feel a lot better than even two weeks ago.
COOPER: When you heard about this latest case in the United States, I'm wondering what went through your mind?
BRANTLY: My heart just sank. You know, health care workers who go into this profession to serve people, to relieve suffering, to cure disease, to come alongside people in the worst times of their lives. And now here we have a second health care worker in Dallas who was doing just that for a patient who was suffering greatly.
And now she is sick. And it just made my heart sank. I began praying all over again for the staff at the hospital there.
COOPER: There is obviously a lot of concern in the United States about the spread of the disease here, and not only what is happening in West Africa, but the spread of the disease here. Do you think that concern about Ebola spreading in the United States is justified? Do you worry about Ebola spreading to the U.S.?
BRANTLY: I think there is a lot of irrational fear about Ebola spreading in the United States. If we think about what we've seen so far, we had one man who came from Liberia, contracted the disease, came to America and got sick here. And now who else has gotten sick from him? It's two health care workers who were taking intimate care of him, you know, cleaning up his bodily secretions, dealing with his blood, and medical procedures. Those are the two people who have gotten sick. Not the 48 some odd people being tracked by the CDC --
COOPER: The 48 who had contact in the community.
BRANTLY: No one from that group has gotten sick, it was the people who were taking close care of him in a hospital setting.
COOPER: Do you know how you got it? Was there a moment that you look back on and say that was it? That was the moment.
BRANTLY: I am convinced that I did not get Ebola in the isolation unit.
BRANTLY: Our process there was safe. Every time I went into that unit full of Ebola patients, I was fully suited up in Tibex suit, the goggles, the mask --
COOPER: Every part of your skin covered?
BRANTLY: Every centimeter, every inch.
COOPER: And there is a sense in the United States, well, stop flights, let's just kind of shut down contact with West Africa. But the truth of the matter is regardless of what one thing about having no flights, until this is dealt with in West Africa.
Until the outbreak is controlled and stopped in West Africa it is going to continue to come to the United States, to Western Europe, to -- or at least the possibility of spreading around the world.
BRANTLY: That is absolutely correct. Until this epidemic is stopped in West Africa, it will continue to be a global problem. There have been suspected or confirmed cases in the United States, in Spain, Brazil had a suspected case.
We're talking about three continents outside of Africa that have already been affected by this epidemic, this outbreak. And the answer is not simply close the borders and let them deal with it themselves. We've got to be pro-active.
We have to go put an end to the epidemic or it's going to keep coming back to cause problems and suffering in the global community.
COOPER: You have done something, which has really struck a lot of people. You have repeatedly donated your own blood or plasma in order to help those who have been affected. You have -- is it four times now that you have done this?
BRANTLY: Three or four. COOPER: Three or four. What is that process like?
BRANTLY: So I have donated my plasma, which is not actually a whole blood, the blood is made up of the red blood cells and the plasma. So they can take the blood out of my arm and put it in a special machine and it separates the red blood cells from the plasma.
And they give me the red blood cells back and then they take the plasma. And the plasma is the part of the blood that contains the antibodies that will fight Ebola. So that is the part of my blood they're taking as kind of an experimental drug to these patients.
It is very fortunate that the three patients I've been able to donate to, they and I share the same blood type, and that is why I have had the unique opportunity to help in that way.
COOPER: Would you donate plasma again to another patient if you were the same blood type?
BRANTLY: I pray that there is no more need for plasma donations in this country. But I'll keep doing it as much as is needed, as much as I can. If it will help -- will potentially help save somebody's life.
COOPER: That is Dr. Kent Brantly, as always you can find more about this story and others on cnn.com.
Just ahead on this program, serious allegations about insufficient training and inadequate protective gear for Nina Pham, Amber Vinson and other health care workers who treated Thomas Duncan right here in Dallas. Reports on that ahead.
COOPER: Welcome back. We're live from Dallas tonight with breaking news. The second nurse who has tested positive for Ebola, who had treated Thomas Eric Duncan and has tested positive has arrived in Atlanta, going to Emory University Hospital.
Those are the images of her we saw just before the top of the hour getting off the plane walking on her own accord, into that ambulance, reminiscent of Dr. Kent Brantly, who was able to walk off the plane.
And now we have the images for the first time of her walking off the ambulance, going to Emory University Hospital. I believe we have those images or perhaps not -- we'll try to get those to you later on in the program.
There they are, these are the first images, first time we are seeing this, as well. Again, this very representative of the images we saw of Dr. Kent Brantly when he got off the ambulance coming to Emory.
He was the first American to test positive for Ebola. He tested positive in Liberia. Amber Vinson of course now is the second health care worker from this hospital here in Dallas who has tested positive. As many as 76 health care workers are under some form of observation because they may have had contact with Thomas Eric Duncan or with some of the fluids of him or with him directly as Amber Vinson did.
The 29-year-old Amber Vinson is said to be ill but clinically stable. Meanwhile, the 26-year-old Nina Pham remains in isolation here at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital.
Now officials say her condition is good, that is how they describe it. Mr. Duncan died last Wednesday. Of course, you know, today the CDC said both nurses had extensive contact with Duncan on September 28th through September 30th, when he had quote, "extensive production of bodily fluids."
Nurses at the hospital say they were not given proper training or sufficient protective equipment to keep them safe. They've made those allegations public through a nurses' union, which was known at a press call while we were on air last night. Here is just one of the disturbing claims.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DEBORAH BURGER, CO-PRESIDENT, NATIONAL NURSES UNITED (via telephone): Mr. Duncan was left for several hours not in isolation in an area where other patients were present. There was no one to pick up hazardous waste as it piled to the ceiling. They did not have access to proper supplies.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Now, what is interesting to note is that officials at this hospital, Texas Health Presbyterian hospital, they have not directly commented on any of the nurses' allegations.
In fact they have not disputed them or confirmed them, nothing. In a statement, the company who operates the hospital said, and listen closely, they said, "Patient and safety is our greatest priority and we take compliance very seriously.
We have numerous measures in place to provide a safe working environment including mandatory annual training and a 24/7 hotline and other mechanisms that allow for anonymous reporting.
The nursing staff is committed to providing quality, compassionate care, as we've always known as the world has seen in firsthand in recent days. We will continue to review and respond to any concerns raised by out nurses an all employees."
Deborah Burger is co-president of the union, National Nurses United, she joins me now. Deborah, thanks for being with us. Were you surprised by the statement? Because it doesn't actually address -- I don't like to use the word "shocking," very much.
But the shocking allegations that your organization has made about what has gone inside this hospital. Were you surprised that they didn't even address any single one of them? BURGER: No, it doesn't surprise me that they didn't address the accusations. It is ludicrous to say that they can have one yearly training, and expect nurses to be able to use the equipment, and personal protections that would keep their life safe. So it concerns me that the hospital is not taking responsibility for the spread of Ebola to these two health care workers.
COOPER: The idea also that they say well, we have a 24-hour helpline that people can make anonymous calls to. Based on what your organization has said, you're getting this from the nurses in the hospital, nurses raised objections at least one very specific time and were overruled.
BURGER: Well, that is what we've saying all along is that when you're in the middle of the situation, that is not the time to be figuring out what the safety protocols are, what the safety equipment is, what you need and what tools you have to have. We need to have the armor and the weapons to deal with this disease that is quite literally a nurse killer.
And we need to make sure that that information is communicated. What we're trying to do is make sure that we spread readiness, not fear. We don't want nurses to be afraid to take care of these patients because they can be taken care of safely if they have the proper guidelines and the proper equipment and the proper protections.
COOPER: And that is -- I mean, again, that idea, well, we have annual training. Annual training is not enough in a situation like this. I mean, just as we're asking for transparency from the hospital I know you can't say obviously, you know, the names of nurses who you say you got this information from.
Can you at least say how many nurses you have talked to, your organization has talked to from inside this hospital and whether they were directly involved in Mr. Duncan's care?
BURGER: These nurses were extremely courageous because they can be fired. They can lose their livelihood at any moment and they were all very brave to step up and speak out against what was happening in that hospital. It was a disgrace.
COOPER: Can you say how many you talked to?
COOPER: Is it one person or several?
COOPER: So a handful?
COOPER: Several. And were they people who were directly -- I mean, do they have direct knowledge -- BURGER: They have direct knowledge. They were involved in the care
and they witnessed from start to finish what happened with both Mr. Duncan and with Nina.
COOPER: Well, it is truly alarming, the information you have put out. Deborah Burger, I appreciate you being on.
Joining me now is Dr. Joseph McCormick, co-author of "Level Four Virus Hunters of the CDC" and dean of the University of Texas School of Public Health. Dr. McCormick helped investigate the first Ebola outbreak in Central Africa when he worked at the CDC.
Dr. McCormick, I keep thinking about something that you talked to on the broadcast last night, that when you were in the field in very difficult circumstances, not in the hospital, but in the field taking blood from Ebola patients on the floor, you know, in dark conditions without much light, you often didn't have the most high-tech protective gear.
And that it is not about necessarily the highest level of technology. It is about protocols and rigorous adherence to them.
DR. JOSEPH MCCORMICK: Absolutely. You cannot replace human activity with technology and if we tried to do that we're going to fail. I totally agree with the nurse. And furthermore, I would say in the process of training, not only do they have to be trained regularly and there should be a specific team that gets trained.
But they have to take ownership of the protocol. You have to sit down and talk with the nurses because they're going to give the primary care. And they actually have to take ownership of the protocol if you want them to really feel as though they are the ones who are driving the care, and are the ones who are going to feel safe when they do that.
If they don't do that, then they're not going to feel safe. I had a discussion today, with a few people in South Texas. And there, the hospital, the nurses were saying well, our training consists of YouTube. Just a YouTube video, of how they're trained, so they had no hands-on training, no repetitive training and they had no input into the training itself.
COOPER: It's truly stunning, Dr. McCormick, I appreciate you being on. We'd love to talk to you again, tomorrow. Thank you.
Up next, the latest in the photojournalist who contracted Ebola while covering the story in Liberia. His parents join us ahead.
COOPER: Welcome back, the epicenter of the broadening Ebola crisis in the U.S. is here in Dallas. But about 650 miles, another patient is getting treatment in Nebraska Medical Center. Freelance cameraman, Ashoka Mukpo was infected with Ebola while he was covering the outbreak in West Africa. Ashoka's parents, Diana Mukpo and Mitchell Levy join me now from Providence, Rhode Island. I appreciate you being with us. Dr. Levy, Ashoka tweeted yesterday that he was on the road to good health. Have you been able to talk to him? How does he seem to you?
DR. MITCHELL LEVY, FATHER OF ASHOKA MUKPO: I talked to him today, Anderson, and he seems really good. His spirits are great. And this morning, he kind of reluctantly and tentatively said, well, I guess, Dad, I'm out of the woods. And it was really the first time that he acknowledged that he himself is feeling like he is going to get better.
COOPER: Well, that must have been such an amazing thing for you to hear. Diana, when -- as a mom, I keep thinking about my mom every time I go overseas somewhere dangerous and she gets worried, but she tries not to let me know how worried she gets. When you first heard that you know, he was going back to Liberia, what did you think?
DIANA MUKPO, MOTHER OF ASHOKA MUKPO: Well, he waited until the night before he left to call me. So I didn't have a lot of time --
COOPER: That is my trick too, by the way. That's the trick I use as well.
MUKPO: Yes. I think he told his father quite a bit before he told me and said don't tell mom. But, you know, I said to him, please, please don't go. I'm so worried about you getting Ebola. But Ashoka, you know, was determined to go. He felt he had a mission and was not to be dissuaded.
So that at that point, I had to accept it. Periodically, a few weeks after he went there this terrifying thought popped up in my mind that it might happen. I tried to put the lid on that, but obviously it happened anyway.
COOPER: And when you got the call. When you got word that he had tested positive, what did you -- how do you deal with that?
MUKPO: Well, initially it was the darkest most terrible feeling, to hear that. I mean, it's the worse news any parent can get. But immediately, both his father and I decided to pull ourselves out of that state of mind and to mobilize.
And realize that to a certain extent his life dependent on us getting everything working and getting him out of Africa, getting him evacuated and getting him to a situation where he could have the best possible medical care.
And you know, I have to thank MSF, "Doctors Without Borders" for taking such good care of him in Liberia while we waited for that, and then also the State Department was fantastic to work with. They were wonderful so you know there are so many thanks along the road.
COOPER: And I know -- Dr. Brantly, who I just spoke with today, Dr. Levy, I mean, he donated his own plasma hoping that it would help Ashoka to fight off the virus, that must have been an incredibly emotional moment when you learn that he would do that.
LEVY: Yes, it really was. In fact, it was the first time that I broke down. I got in touch with him on his cell phone while he was still in his car on his family vacation with his wife and children. And it was remarkable.
I was trying to express my thanks for him and he -- for his generosity, and he just kept saying no, it was really no big deal and I was just shocked at the ordinariness that he felt about his heroism.
And I just broke down because I thought this kind of ordinary generosity was really, honestly magical in this day and age.
COOPER: Well, and one of the things, I found very moving about your son because I was reading the tweets he started to send again when he started to feel better was that from the moment he started tweeting again and was able to communicate, he was communicating concern not about himself, and thanks for those who helped him.
But also a concern for all those in West Africa who he had spent so much time covering it and the lack of care that they were receiving. I really found that really a testament to really the kind of person your son is.
LEVY: Yes, I believe that is exactly right. He went there with a determination to shine some light on the tragedy that was being generated by this epidemic. Socially and culturally and politically for the Liberian people and he had -- initially he thought he had firsthand knowledge of that.
And then he had real firsthand knowledge by becoming sick and seeing the people next to him who were not receiving the kind of care that he knew he would get and seeing the impact of that and seen the impact of that and the fact that they were dying around him and that was a real shock to him.
COOPER: Yes. Well, Dr. Mitchell Levy and Diana Mukpo, I'm so happy that we are talking under these circumstances, good circumstances for your son is on the mend so please give him my best.
Up next, what Frontier Airlines has done with the plane that was carrying Amber Vinson on that flight from Cleveland to Dallas Monday night and should the passengers who were with her, should they be worried about their own health? A realistic look at that ahead.
COOPER: Welcome back. CNN has learned from a federal official that the second nurse, the second nurse infected with Ebola who just arrived at Emory University Hospital for treatment, called the CDC before she got on a commercial airline flight on Monday and no one told her not to fly.
It was a Frontier Airlines plane. The company says it's been decontaminated. CNN's Rene Marsh, joins me now. So the flight she took, where were those planes between the time that she was on them, the time the CDC actually contacted the airline about her diagnosis?
RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION AND GOVERNMENT REGULATION CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, so that flight left Cleveland and was bound to Dallas. Once it landed on Monday, it made five other trips. That included stops in cities like not only Cleveland, but Dallas, Atlanta, as well as Fort Lauderdale.
So those are the cities where this plane made other stops. Again, that was before officials were able to connect the dots and figure out that this woman, infected with Ebola, was on board.
Fast forward to today, and we know that Frontier Airlines was notified. The plane was taken out of service. We're told it was disinfected twice at the airport. And since then it has been put back into service.
It took off tonight from Cleveland bound for Denver and it is scheduled to land in just a matter of minutes, Anderson. No indication at this point, though, if passengers are actually on board.
COOPER: All right, Rene Marsh, appreciate the update.
We'll see you again at 11 p.m. Eastern. We're live in the 11:00 hour tonight with all the latest breaking news. "SOMEBODY'S GOTTA DO IT" starts now.