A Spanish nurse’s assistant who left the hospital Wednesday after beating Ebola said she was still weak but gave thanks to God and the health workers who cared for her that she was still alive.
Looking frail but happy, Teresa Romero Ramos was greeted by cheers as she spoke to journalists, flanked by her husband, Javier Limon.
Romero, who described her recovery as a “miracle” from God, said she was ready to do whatever she could to help others infected with Ebola.
And she indicated that she still doesn’t know how she contracted the virus.
“I don’t know what went wrong. I don’t even know if anything went wrong. All I know is that I hold no resentment, but if getting this disease serves a purpose to anyone, to better study the disease, to help find a cure, or if my blood helps cure another person, then here I am.”
She added that she was “willing to try, even if it means risking my life.”
Romero spent 30 days at the Carlos III Hospital in Madrid, the same hospital where she contracted the illness while helping to care for an infected missionary who had been brought back from West Africa.
She praised the care she received while there.
“The doctors, the nurses, the nurses’ assistants, cleaning personnel, security personnel … they have all proven to me that we have the best health care in the world,” she said. “Dedicated professionals who, despite the nefarious politics at times, are capable of performing miracles. I am one of them.”
But she also spoke of her loneliness in the early stages, as she faced possible death.
“When I saw myself dying, I had memories of my family, of my husband,” she said. “I felt myself isolated, I didn’t have contact with the exterior apart from Javier.”
Now, Romero said, she needs to be left in peace to rest and recuperate.
Dog ‘was the son we never had’
Limon followed his wife’s statement with a pointed reproach to the Madrid authorities who decided to destroy the couple’s dog, Excalibur, out of concern that he might have been carrying the Ebola virus.
The animal was euthanized despite protests by animal rights campaigners outside the couple’s home and an online petition signed by about 400,000 people.
As a childless couple, the dog “was the son we never had,” Limon said.
“I would like to say thank you to all the people who love animals and have helped us in the case of Excalibur. Nobody knew the importance of the animal for us, a family without children.”
He questioned why the dog could not have been quarantined, as was the case for a U.S. nurse infected in Texas. Nina Pham, who also recovered, was reunited with her tail-wagging pet Saturday after the dog completed a 21-day quarantine.
Doctor: No danger of contagion
Romero is now clear of the virus but still recovering her strength, Dr. Jose Ramon Arribas told a news conference earlier Wednesday, flanked by other hospital personnel.
“Everyone can be assured that there is no danger whatsoever of her being contagious,” he said.
Romero chose not to speak at the doctors’ news conference for personal reasons, said the hospital’s director general, Dr. Rafael Perez-Santamarina.
Ramon said that through Romero’s case, the hospital had learned many lessons about the treatment of patients with Ebola and how to protect the staff caring for them.
Romero was the first person to be infected with Ebola outside West Africa in the current outbreak. Authorities announced October 19 that tests showed that Romero no longer had Ebola, but she remained in the hospital while further tests were carried out and she recuperated.