New York City Ebola Patient Dr. Craig Spencer To Be Released From Hospital

Craig Spencer, the New York City physician who was diagnosed with Ebola roughly a week after returning from a stint volunteering for Doctors Without Borders in west Africa, will be released from the hospital tomorrow, become the latest American Ebola patient to be cured of the disease:

Craig Spencer, the New York City doctor who became the first person in the city to test positive for Ebola, is being released from Bellevue Hospital Center on Tuesday morning, people familiar with his treatment said on Monday.

Dr. Spencer, 33, who had been in Guinea treating Ebola patients with Doctors Without Borders, was rushed to Bellevue by ambulance on Oct. 23 after reporting a fever of 100.3 to the authorities that morning. He was placed in isolation in a secure ward, and within hours a blood test had confirmed that he had the virus.

His infection set the city on edge and set off a race to find his contacts over the previous few days, when he went bowling, dined out and rode on the subway and in an Uber taxi.

His release 19 days later adds to the evidence that when treated in advanced American hospitals, Ebola has a lower fatality rate than in West African field hospitals starved of doctors, nurses and equipment.

The plan to release Dr. Spencer has not been publicly announced but was confirmed on Monday by two people familiar with his treatment, but who declined to be identified because they did not have permission to release the information. A spokeswoman for Bellevue did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

(…)

Dr. Spencer was given every treatment available, including an experimental drug and blood plasma donated by a recovered Ebola patient, Nancy Writebol, a 59-year-old missionary who contracted the virus in Liberia.

His condition was serious at first, but by last week, he had asked for his banjo and exercise bicycle, the first signs that he was on the way to being released.

The people who had contact with Dr. Spencer, and who have treated him for the past 19 days will obviously remain under monitoring for the next three weeks or so to ensure they do not develop signs of the disease. On the whole though, this is another piece of good news in the Ebola fight here in the United States and means that, as of now, there is not a single active case of Ebola in the United States for the first time since Timothy Eric Duncan was diagnosed at the end of September. Hopefully, enhance treatments, screening, monitoring and other protocols will mean that this is the last one, but of course we cannot be assured of that completely until the disease is brought under control at the source in west Africa.

FILED UNDER: Health, Quick Takes,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. stonetools says:

    The right wing media went dark on Ebola the day after the elections… wonder why that was?

    Kudos again for the Obama Administration for a crisis well handled. Hopefully, there is enough concern left over from the hysteria whipped up by the right wing media that people will prompt Congress to fund efforts to control the disease in West Africa.

    I fear that people are forgetting this already and that they will lapse back into their indifference to all things African. We’ll see.

  2. Ken_L says:

    @stonetools: Not a chance. Watch for Ebola to be added to the standard conservative list of Obama “scandals”. Many people won’t remember what it was all about, they’ll just remember it as something else Obama handled terribly and risked American lives.

  3. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @stonetools: Kudos again for the Obama Administration for a crisis well handled.

    How did they handle it? They told everyone to not panic, kept redefining what was “safe,” and got lucky. That was their “handling.’

    And I wonder if the banjo was a factor. I know if I was running a hospital and a quarantine patient got his hands on one, I’d be sorely tempted to release him immediately to get that thing out of my hospital.

    And, I assume, Dr. Alan Jamison is just another stupid anti-science fear-monger…

  4. Gustopher says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    And I wonder if the banjo was a factor. I know if I was running a hospital and a quarantine patient got his hands on one, I’d be sorely tempted to release him immediately to get that thing out of my hospital.

    The banjo was originally an African instrument, brought over by the slaves (the design, not the actual instruments), and then reinvented in America by adding frets and the one shorter string.

    Now, I wonder why you would have such a hostile reaction to an African instrument… Could it be racism?

    (Granted, after the minstrel period with all that blackface, not a single black person picked up a banjo for another century… It’s hard to believe that an instrument could have its reputation improved by being played by an inbred hick stereotype in the movie Deliverance, but that was slightly better than blackface)

  5. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Gustopher: All I can say to all that is… thank God it was only a banjo. Had it been bagpipes, there’d have been riots.

    And if an accordion… Apocalypse.

  6. lounsbury says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: In what alternate reality was ‘safe’ redefined.

    Anyone listening to standard guidances (although in USA among those addicted to shrill partisan freak out media perhaps this was muddied) safe has been quite clear.

    This is of course why everyone on the other side of the pond is laughing at you people and your ridiculous, absurd freak out over Ebola. Bloody pants wetters. Can only imagine if you people had to have gone through the Blitz of the like.

  7. C. Clavin says:

    Another crisis/scandal that wasn’t…add it to F&F, the IRS, and Benghazi on the list of things that have made a fool of Jenos.

  8. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @C. Clavin: Hey, Cliffy. I’m really hoping you don’t work in the medical profession, ‘cuz you have an astonishing record for declaring things dead way, way too soon.

    Back on election day, Eric Holder dumped 64,000 documents that had been withheld under “executive privilege” with Fast & Furious. And the IRS keeps changing its story on what happened with Lois Lerner’s e-mails.

  9. C. Clavin says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    Thanks for proving me right…again.

  10. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @C. Clavin: Thanks for proving me right…again.

    You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

  11. Argon says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13

    Hmmm…. About 9x more people have died from Hantavirus infections this year in the US than from Ebola.

    None of the relatives of Thomas Duncan, the Liberian man who died in Texas, contracted the disease despite living in close quarters with the infected man. None of the other fliers in the planes with Amber Joy Vinson, the nurse later diagnosed with Ebola, contracted the disease. The only infections within the US have been to medical workers in contact with Duncan when he was at in the most contagious phase of the disease.

    Yes, there is a 21-day ‘period’ when health organization think Ebola may incubate before producing symptoms but in reality, that’s on the very tail-end of the probability distribution. The mean incubation period is roughly 12 days.

  12. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Argon: As I said… we got lucky.

    All those good things you pointed out? You can’t link them to a coordinated, well-prepared, well-executed response to the threat. Mr. Duncan’s family wasn’t saved by preventive measures. The two nurses, presumably well trained and equipped to avoid exposure, both got sick.

    Much like the shoe bomber, the underwear bomber, the Times Square bomber… we got lucky.

    I don’t particularly feel like depending on luck in the future. And I’m amazed at how many people here seem to think that “everything worked out fine, so we must have been doing something right” and don’t worry about the next time.

  13. Argon says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    Got lucky?
    Perhaps in the sense that Ebola isn’t really readily communicable, we are a wealthy nation with pretty solid care, and we don’t have cultural tendencies like handling the dead that tend to enhance the spread of disease. Was it ‘luck’ that West African nations got hit hard instead? The epidemic seems to have started from a single infected source yet went on to infect thousands of people in Africa compared to *two* nurses in the US.

    Let’s be clear. After the initial infections in the Texas hospital, no other healthcare worker became infected. People were initially lax but that tightened up afterward. Those in contact with the infected were traced and monitored.

    What other communicable diseases are on the horizon? MERS? It’s currently not terribly communicable and would probably be well contained here after it was identified. A truly pandemic flu? We’d likely be hosed irregardless of government preparation although the infection rate could be slowed and vaccine production would probably begin within a month or so.

  14. Ken_L says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: “The next time”? I guess the next time a few more people might die. Life’s like that, full of risks. You can try to reduce them but it usually means interference with individual liberty. Balancing individual freedom with public safety is an ongoing challenge which doesn’t lend itself to simplistic sloganising.

    For example the human race has been having the same discussion on a much broader scale ever since the invention of the automobile: how much government regulation is justified in the name of improving public safety? “Not enough to stop lots of people getting killed and injured” has generally been the answer.

    The response to the tiny number of Ebola cases was proportionate to the risk and the results demonstrate that it was sensible.

  15. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    we got lucky.

    This nonsense point you keep repeating (and repeating, and repeating) has been thoroughly debunked on multiple occasions.

    I realize you need to try and somehow save face after your recent hysterical “CDC/Obama incompetence has doomed us all” rants, buy you are impressing no one but yourself here.

  16. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: This nonsense point you keep repeating (and repeating, and repeating) has been thoroughly debunked on multiple occasions.

    Oh, really? Just how did our efforts keep Mr. Duncan’s family safe? How did they keep the two nurses safe?

    I’ll repeat something that no one has disputed: I’m apparently the only one here who’s read Randy Shilts’ And The Band Played On.

    And I can’t help compare this attitude with a lot of liberals’ attitudes towards nuclear power. We’ve had exactly ONE major accident in this country, and it killed no one. In the meantime, we’ve had plenty of civilian power plants work just fine, and the Navy’s never had a major incident in about 60 years of putting them to sea.

    Maybe it’s because Ebola would only kill people, while a nuclear accident might not just kill people, but mess up the environment?

  17. Grewgills says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    Seriously, do we need to link to your earlier comments? Do we need to link to all your fear mongering about 70-90% fatality rates and your dismissal of arguments that in developed nations the death toll was estimated to be 25% or less? Do we need to link to your drumbeat of we don’t really know how transmissible it is and your dismissal of science based arguments that it was/is not transmissible before symptoms show and not highly transmissible until symptoms are severe? Aren’t you even a little bit ashamed to have been some completely wrong? Can’t you simply acknowledge that the people that argued for a calm and measured response were the ones who were right in this case?

  18. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Look just save your energy. A few weeks ago, ebola was going to kill us all. Before that, ISIS was going to kill us all. Rest assured, you will be given something else to be terrified of soon.

    In the meantime, it’s your job to prove your ridiculous arguments, it’s not my job to disprove them. So make a coherent, scientifically sound, well sourced argument that we got lucky. That requires more that bolding your nonsense or using ALL CAPS when you are regurgitating things that you heard while you were mesmerized by Megyn Kelly’s tits.

  19. lounsbury says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    No you did not get lucky. You had the same experience that every not-grossly-incompetent country has had. That is the same same as all of the 3 effected countries (Senegal, Mali, CdI) etc.

    Very simply despite your bed-wetting panic, Ebola outside of grossly incompetent government situations (i.e. Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea-C), is not all that contagious.

  20. Mikey says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    we got lucky

    Translation: “I was utterly, abysmally wrong, but this is the only way I can even attempt to save face…by chalking the whole thing up to luck.”

  21. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    So, if it wasn’t luck, what was it? What measures and actions and policies worked?

    This case was a seemingly endless string of eff-ups. Mr. Duncan was sent away from the hospital at first. When he threw up in public, it was cleaned up with a hose. People without protective gear traipsed in and out of his apartment. Two nurses were infected. The CDC issued a set of guidelines to avoid contamination, then revised them when they were proven to be flawed. They issued contradictory statements on how Ebola can be spread. Then Obama appointed an Ebola czar who had zero medical training, who wasn’t known as a superb manager, but was an expert political fixer.

    There’s a line about certain people born into privilege about how they are born on third base and think they hit a triple. You are talking as if Ebola is somehow politically aware and sensitive, and wouldn’t dare infect people who are so obviously morally and intellectually superior.

    We didn’t defeat Ebola. There is nothing you can point to as being a definitive positive action that thwarted, or even slowed down, its spread. There were plenty of people who were potentially exposed to Ebola, and nothing we did reduced the chances that they contracted it. Instead, they got lucky. And, consequently, we got lucky.

    And I’m not really surprised that no one has read Shilts’ book. It’s the kind of thing that liberals all praise, but don’t actually read. Kind of like how all the usual suspects lauded Lena Dunham’s book, but were shocked when someone who didn’t share her ideology pointed out the stories of her sexually abusing her sister. Or when someone else first noted that Obama’s autobiography included an account of eating dog.

  22. Grewgills says:

    So, if it wasn’t luck, what was it? What measures and actions and policies worked?

    The CDC protocols when followed precisely worked fine. That they revised their policies for added safety after the first American case and the uproar that followed that was fed by fear mongers isn’t evidence of failure.

    There is nothing you can point to as being a definitive positive action that thwarted, or even slowed down, its spread.

    What a complete load of crap. The self monitoring of medical professionals worked. All of the medical professionals that came in contact with ebola here or in Africa self monitored and reported when they first detected fever. Note that at that stage they are still minimally infectious. Those professionals were then quarantined and cared for under the protocols established by the CDC and ebola did not spread beyond the two nurses infected by Duncan or beyond the few infected in West Africa. That is pretty thorough and effective containment. Note also that everyone that contracted or first displayed symptoms in America other than Duncan survived. Your fear mongering about 70-90% fatality was entirely and completely wrong. Your dismissal of my arguments and the arguments of others that fatality rates in the US would almost certainly be much lower (25% or less) was entirely and completely wrong. This wasn’t about luck, it was about understanding how this disease works.

    There were plenty of people who were potentially exposed to Ebola, and nothing we did reduced the chances that they contracted it.

    Another bunch of nonsense. The people that had any real potential exposure were those that encountered Duncan near to or after his first hospital visit, primarily his family and hospital staff. The luck involved is the very low transmissibility of the disease.
    As far as the many others, you are no doubt referring to the plane passengers and the people in NY. The search for all of those possible contacts was a combination of an over abundance of caution and theater to deal with all of the fear mongers that were hyping the threat either for ratings, page views, or political reasons. The people that hyped this threat all deserve to be publicly shamed.

    As to Duncan’s book, I’m guessing you accepted the excerpts spoon fed to you and accepted their characterization of them without question. I don’t much care for her show and don’t care to read her book, but I did look into this a bit and it appears to be more BS. Her sister certainly doesn’t think she was abused.
    As to Obama maybe eating dog, I don’t care if it is true. If it is, so what?

    Really, you should be ashamed.

  23. lounsbury says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    What series of actions worked, why the standard quarantine of actually sick people, contact tracing and observation.

    Standard procedures in public health. And of course standard, quality treatment which has seen all but the Liberian, who was buggered by the misdiagnoses, recover fine. Not luck.

    There was no luck involved – except for in the bollixing up of the initial response, those that were unlucky enough to get Ebola from exposure – a small minority of actually exposed persons.

    Making bold your assertions about “luck” does not make such assertions more credible, they mere highlight your gross ignorance.

  24. lounsbury says:

    Your dismissal of my arguments and the arguments of others that fatality rates in the US would almost certainly be much lower (25% or less) was entirely and completely wrong. This wasn’t about luck, it was about understanding how this disease works.

    Quite right.

    Ebola in a developed world context when caught early on is simply not the scary horrible thing it is in a least-developed country in the back woods without access to clean water, let alone rehydration formula. Simple as that.

    Like Cholera.