Senator Durbin Applauds Chicago Nurse Treating Ebola Patients In Liberia Durbin Holiday Season

WASHINGTON, D.C.–(ENEWSPF)—December 4, 2014. During a speech on the Senate Floor, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) applauded Chicago nurse Janet Teasley, who has volunteered to spend her holiday season in Liberia treating patients with the Ebola virus. Teasley – who was featured in a Chicago Tribune article earlier this week – is part of a growing number of health care workers who are being recruited to help stop the spread of the disease in West Africa. She has been a nurse for 17 years, working in emergency care and infectious disease units, most recently at Holy Cross Hospital in Chicago.

“I want to draw attention today to a woman from Illinois who is doing something very different this year. Janet Teasley, a registered nurse from Chicago, has volunteered to spend her holiday season in Liberia, treating patients with the potentially deadly Ebola virus,” Durbin said.

“When Teasley first told her family and coworkers of her plan, she says she encountered resistance from some. One doctor with whom she works was only half kidding when he told her he thought she was crazy. But once he realized she was serious, that doctor told Teasley he admires her.  I share that admiration.”

Video of Durbin’s remarks is available here.

Senator Durbin’s remarks as prepared for delivery are available below:

The holiday rush is underway and millions of Americans are decorating, shopping, and preparing to spend Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa with their loved ones. 

I want to draw attention today to a woman from Illinois who is doing something very different this year.

Janet Teasley, a registered nurse from Chicago, has volunteered to spend her holiday season in Liberia, treating patients with the potentially deadly Ebola virus. 

When Teasley first told her family and coworkers of her plan, she says she encountered resistance from some. 

One doctor with whom she works was only half kidding when he told her he thought she was crazy. 

But once he realized she was serious, that doctor told Teasley he admires her.  I share that admiration.

The United States Agency for International Development – U.S.A.I.D. – estimates that nearly 16,000 people have contracted the Ebola virus. 

Nearly 6,000 people have died from it.

Today, it is estimated that 7,000 people in Liberia, where Nurse Teasley is volunteering, have Ebola. 

She is helping some of the neediest patients in the country hardest hit by the disease.

Although Ebola has been contained so far here in the United States, the outbreak is still raging in parts of West Africa.

Teasley is part of a wave of U.S. health care workers being recruited to help stop the spread of the disease in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, and now Mali.

Teasley got involved through AmeriCares, which is one of about 150 non-profits working with the federal government to recruit workers nationwide.

Teasley has been a nurse for 17 years, working in emergency care and infectious disease units, most recently at Holy Cross Hospital in Chicago.

Now, she is spending eight weeks in Buchanan, Liberia, training and then treating patients. She explains, “I came here for a purpose, and I want to see that through… I honestly believe no man is an island; each man’s death diminishes me. That’s why I became a nurse.”

Teasley’s daughter, Danica Miller, was not surprised by her mother’s plan.  She says for leisure, her mother does not read novels but pores over books on infectious diseases.

Despite her family’s support, Teasley is conscious of the increased risk she faces. In fact, many of those who have fallen ill have been health care workers themselves. 

Teasley says she will not be one of them.

She said she is confident in herself and her team and that she’ll be able to come home safely.

The Need for Health Care Workers

To stop this epidemic, we need more people like Nurse Teasley.

The federal government is seeking medical professionals to work in the 23 Ebola treatment units being established in Liberia.

While the number of volunteers increased steadily this fall, it did drop off a bit when there was confusion over quarantine policies for returning medical workers. 

With time and perspective, this confusion seems to be settling.

Illinois has brought its quarantine policy in line with that of the Centers for Disease Control. 

With a scientifically grounded and careful, measured approach, the hope is that health care workers with the same passion and dedication as Nurse Teasley will volunteer to help those in need.

I met with Dr. Tom Frieden, Director of the Centers for Disease Control, two weeks ago. 

He and members of the international public health community maintain that the way to control spread of Ebola is to contain the virus at its source.

To prepare for the possibility of Ebola patients here at home – and to help with containment overseas – the Obama Administration has requested $6.18 billion in emergency funding, including $1.83 billion specifically for the CDC.

I support this request.

Janet Teasley is a valuable and commendable part of this effort.

I hope people will hear Teasley’s story and the stories of people like her and get behind the United States’ operation in Liberia.

Source: durbin.senate.gov