Nina Pham’s suit accuses the hospital’s parent company, Texas Health Resources, of failing to provide staff with adequate training – and violating her privacy
|Nina Pham, in the pink dress, is still employed by Texas Health Resources and was Thomas Eric Duncan’s primary nurse. Photograph: Win McNamee/Getty Images|
Nina Pham, the nurse who last year became the first person to contract Ebola in the US, has said she will file a lawsuit against the hospital for which she was working at the time.
Pham became infected while caring for Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian man who contracted the disease in Africa before becoming sick in the US, at Texas Health Presbyterian hospital in Dallas.
Pham’s suit accuses the hospital’s parent company, Texas Health Resources, of failing to provide staff with adequate training or the necessary equipment to respond to the disease. It also claims that the company violated Pham’s privacy by releasing medical information and videos of her despite her request that “no information” be released.
Her complaints echo those made by the country’s largest nursing union in the days after Duncan was found to have the disease. National Nurses United criticized the hospital and said it failed to properly prepare staff on the protocol for dealing with an Ebola patient.
Pham, who is still employed by Texas Health Resources, was Duncan’s primary nurse. Duncan, who was first sent home from the hospital after manifesting symptoms of the disease, died in a hospital isolation unit on 8 October. Days later, Pham learned that she had contracted the disease.
“I wanted to believe that they would have my back and take care of me, but they just haven’t risen to the occasion,” Pham told the Dallas Morning News.
The newspaper said the suit asks for unspecified damages related to “physical pain, mental anguish, medical expenses and loss of future earnings”.
A Texas Health Resources spokesperson, Wendell Watson, said that the group believed that Pham’s complaints could be resolved.
“Nina Pham bravely served Texas Health Dallas during a most difficult time,” Watson said. “We continue to support and wish the best for her, and we remain optimistic that constructive dialogue can resolve this matter.”
Pham was moved to the National Institutes of Health, a Maryland hospital, for treatment. She was discharged later in October after receiving experimental drugs and plasma from an Ebola survivor, Dr Kent Brantly.
Her colleague, nurse Amber Vinson, also contracted the disease after caring for Duncan. She was moved to Atlanta’s Emory University hospital and was discharged in October.