The first person to ever contract Ebola in the United States, is now she’s suing the hospital where she got infected.
Nina Pham, a nurse at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, filed a lawsuit Monday against the hospital’s parent company, Texas Health Resources.
“I was hoping that THR would be more open and honest about everything that happened at the hospital, and the things they didn’t do that led to me getting infected with Ebola,” she said in a statement. “But that didn’t happen and I felt I was left with no choice but to turn to the courts for help.”
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 says Texas Health Resources violated her privacy by sharing her medical records.
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 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.”
Pham is still employed and is getting a paycheck from Texas Health Resources, but has not returned to work, CNN affiliate 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 Ebola or from the experimental drugs Pham received.
“The fact is, I’m facing a number of issues with regard to my health and my career and the lawsuit provides a way to address them,” Pham said in her statement. “But more importantly, it will help uncover the truth of what happened, and educate all health care providers and administrators about ways to be better prepared for the next public health emergency.
“I particularly want to express my continued sympathy to the family of Mr. Duncan, as it was my privilege to care for him. I also want to acknowledge my fellow nurses, and the many friends, family and strangers for their ongoing concern and support.”