The family of Amber Vinson, the second nurse to contract Ebola at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital after treating Thomas Eric Duncan, has hired celebrity lawyer Billy Martin, the Los Angeles Times reported. Vinson flew commercially between Dallas and Cleveland before displaying Ebola-like symptoms, and later reports indicated she may have displayed symptoms during the flight.
Vinson said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gave her permission to fly, after she reported having a fever but it "did not meet the fever threshold of 100.4." A government official later told NBC News: "Vinson was not told that she could not fly."
"Those who have exposures to Ebola, she should not have traveled on a commercial airline. The CDC guidance in this setting outlines the need for controlled movement. That can include a charter plane; that can include a car; but it does not include public transport. We will from this moment forward ensure that no other individual who is being monitored for exposure undergoes travel in any way other than controlled movement," CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden said in a statement.
The Vinson family denied the CDC's version of what happened, saying Vinson wanted to fly back to Dallas following the news that her colleague, Nina Pham, had contracted Ebola. "Officials assured Amber that her concerns were unfounded because her temperatures were within the appropriate measures and asymptomatic in all other areas. Amber then asked if, after returning to Dallas, she would be allowed to reside at the hospital until the end of her 21-day monitoring period. She was told that this was the first request of its kind, but that the agency would consider the option. Once again, Amber was assured that she should not be alarmed and prompted to continue self-monitoring. The Dallas County Health Department informed her that, upon her return to Dallas, someone from their agency would record at least one of her readings, in person, daily," Vinson's family said in the statement.
In the statement, Vinson's family said they had hired Martin. The high-profile lawyer has handled cases for Michael Vick, Wesley Snipes, Chandra Levy's family and Monica Lewinsky's mother. Martin also represented former Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell in 2006. Campbell was charged with 11 counts of bribery, racketeering and fraud. Campbell was convicted of three counts of tax evasion and sentenced to 30 months in prison and was released in 2008.
Vinson is currently being treated at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.