October 24, 2014 / 4:53 PM / 5 years ago

Obama gives big hug to U.S. nurse who survived Ebola

U.S. President Barack Obama hugs Dallas nurse Nina Pham at the Oval Office in Washington, October 24, 2014. REUTERS/Larry Downing

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama gave a big hug on Friday to Nina Pham, the Dallas nurse who survived a bout with Ebola.

Obama met Pham in the Oval Office shortly after her release from a nearby hospital after recovering from the virus.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Obama brought Pham in for a meeting to recognize her for doing her job at a Dallas hospital, where she fell ill while caring for an Ebola-stricken patient who eventually died.

“She was doing the work that many nurses do on a daily basis and she did so even though it did put her at some risk,” Earnest told reporters.

Photographs of the meeting showed Obama hugging Pham. Reporters and television cameras were not allowed in for the meeting.

Earnest noted that Pham had been tested five times to ensure she was clear of Ebola before being released.

Obama, he said, was “not at all concerned” that he might come under risk of contracting Ebola by hugging Pham.

Reporting By Steve Holland; Editing by Bill Trott

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