First person to contract Ebola in US plans to sue hospital chain
DALLAS — She was the first person to ever contract Ebola in the United States, and now she’s going to suing the hospital where she got infected.
Nina Pham, a nurse at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, will file a lawsuit Monday against the hospital’s parent company Texas Health Resources, her lawyer told CNN affiliate KTVT.
According to the suit, the hospital chain failed to provide proper equipment and training to handle Ebola. Pham contracted the disease last fall while treating Thomas Eric Duncan, who started showing symptoms after arriving in Dallas from Liberia.
Pham’s lawsuit also claims Texas Health Resources violated her privacy by sharing her medial records, KTVT said.
According to The Dallas Morning News, Pham wants unspecified damages for physical pain, mental anguish, medical expenses and loss of future earnings. But she told the newspaper that she wants to “make hospitals and big corporations realize that nurses and health care workers, especially frontline people, are important. And we don’t want nurses to start turning into patients.”
Texas Health Resources spokesman Wendell Watson issued a statement in response to the planned lawsuit:
“Nina Pham bravely served Texas Health Dallas during a most difficult time. We continue to support and wish the best for her, and we remain optimistic that constructive dialogue can resolve this matter.”
Another nurse treating Duncan, Amber Vinson, also contracted Ebola. Both nurses recovered after being sent to hospitals specially equipped and trained to handle Ebola — Pham at the National Institutes of Health in Maryland, and Vinson at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.
Pham is still employed and is getting a paycheck from Texas Health Resources, but has not returned to work, KTVT said. She is still suffering fatigue and body aches, but her lawyer told the affiliate it’s not clear whether the ailments are from having Ebola or from the experimental drugs Pham received.