Doctors hopeful for Spanish Ebola patient as condition remains stable

Medical teams express cautious optimism about possible outcome for Teresa Romero

Medical staff in full protective suits treat Ebola patient Teresa Romero on the sixth floor of Carlos III Hospital in Madrid.
Medical staff in full protective suits treat Ebola patient Teresa Romero on the sixth floor of Carlos III Hospital in Madrid.P.H. (REUTERS)

The director of Carlos III Hospital, Antonio Andreu, said on Monday that the medical team treating the Spanish nursing assistant with Ebola is “hopeful within the limits of prudence” with regard to her condition. Teresa Romero was diagnosed with the virus last week and has been receiving treatment at the Madrid healthcare center since.

“As the days pass, in particular if the patient remains stable, the hopes for survival increase,” Andreu explained. He added that the 15 people who came into contact with Romero once she was infectious, and who are under voluntary observation at Carlos III, are not presenting symptoms. “The period in which they have been in this situation is now approaching eight days, and from there onward it has been shown that the probability of developing the infection is reduced significantly,” Andreu explained.

The director of the Alert Center from the Health Ministry, Fernando Simón, also spoke to the press on Sunday to explain that the “viral count in the patient appears to be under control and is falling.”

He went on to say that there were now “high hopes” that the infection is in the process of being brought under control. But, he warned, “a person with Ebola is always in a critical situation, and as the illness advances it could affect other organs.” He concluded saying that he would be “very cautious when it comes to talking about the progress and possible outcome of this case.”

Simón, speaking from the Moncloa prime ministerial palace, added that there was a very low risk that the disease would spread among the general public.

Husband calls for “respect”

The husband of Teresa Romero, Javier Limón, called on Sunday afternoon for his wife to be “respected.” She was, he said, “an exceptional professional” and a “fantastic worker,” and said that if there had been any breakdown in the system that caused her infection with Ebola, it was “the protocol” in place at Carlos III hospital.

Romero became infected with the virus after having formed part of one of the medical teams charged with caring for two Spanish missionaries who were repatriated from West Africa. Both men had contracted Ebola and died in care at Carlos III. Romero believes she may have touched her face when removing her protective suit after clearing up the room of one of the priests.

For certain politicians and sectors of the press, however, Romero has become something of a scapegoat, with the Madrid regional health chief having accused her of lying to her doctors about her condition before she was diagnosed.

Her husband transmitted his message calling for his wife to be respected via a family friend, who passed it on to journalists outside the Carlos III Hospital. He also sent a message of thanks to the medical teams taking care of her.

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