Nurse who contracted Ebola to sue hospital chain

Nina Pham, one of two Texas nurses who contracted Ebola while treating the first patient diagnosed with the virus in America, will sue her employer's parent company, CNN reports.

Pham alleges Texas Health Resources, which owns Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, where Thomas Eric Duncan died of the virus in October, did not provide sufficient training and equipment, and violated her privacy by sharing her medical records. Pham's lawsuit echoes 2014 criticism from the National Nurses United (NNU) stating that hospitals failed to adequately prepare nurses for Ebola cases. An NNU survey found nearly nine out of 10 nurses said their hospitals had not educated them on the virus, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

Pham further claims she was kept out of the loop during Duncan's treatment, the subject of heavy criticism for the hospital. "I was the last person besides Mr. Duncan to find out he was positive," she told the Dallas Morning News. "You'd think the primary nurse would be the first to know. … I broke down and cried, not because I thought I had it but just because it was a big 'whoa, this is really happening' moment."

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages for medical expenses, loss of future earnings, and physical pain and mental anguish. Pham also told the Morning News she seeks to bring broader attention to the plight of frontline healthcare workers. The hospital, she said, did not give nurses hazmat suits until they had requested them for several days, and nurses were forced to develop their own protocols for disposing hazardous waste.

Amber Vinson, who also contracted the virus treating Duncan, has made similar remarks, telling the Today Show last November that Texas Presbyterian nurses "didn't have excessive training where we could don and doff, put on and take off the protective equipment, till we got a level of being comfortable with it."

To learn more:
- read the CNN article
- here's the Morning News article

 

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