As the Ebola outbreak unfolded last year, the entire nation watched anxiously as it spread through West Africa and eventually arrived on our shores. When a patient turned up in Texas, many were confident that our country’s first-rate medical facilities and response units would be capable of containing the outbreak at its source.
The public was shocked when, approximately two weeks after the death of the first patient, one of his nurses was diagnosed with Ebola. The nurse, 26-year-old Nina Pham, was quarantined and treated, ultimately overcoming the life-threatening disease. Now, she is suing her employer, stating that the hospital did not give her the training and resources necessary to treat an Ebola patient.
According to Pham, she did not volunteer to treat the Ebola patient, as some media sources have alleged. Instead, she was simply told that the patient would be hers. When she asked for information about treating an Ebola patient, her supervisor went to a computer, searched Google, printed off some instructions and gave the information to Nina. The nurse had never received specialized training into the treatment of Ebola; like most Americans, all she know about the disease was what she had read in the news.
It is not clear how Pham became infected. Ebola is transmitted through bodily fluids such as blood, which she was in close contact with throughout the patient’s treatment period. According to her attorney, the hospital had additional safety equipment that Pham could have used, but the facility did not make it available or even inform Pham about it.
Pham is now seeking compensation for what she calls “gross negligence” on the part of her employer. According to the lawsuit,
“Nina brings this case to hold Texas Health Resources accountable for what happened to her and to send a message to corporations like it that the safety of all patients and health care providers comes first. So when the next viral outbreak occurs — and it will occur — these hospitals will be prepared and those health care providers will be protected.”
This case is an unusual one, but in many ways it is no different from any other personal injury lawsuit. Whenever a victim is injured or sickened by the negligence of another party, he or she has a right to pursue compensation for his or her losses. These lawsuits have a twofold purpose: to ensure that the victim does not have to suffer financially for another party’s carelessness, and to ensure that the negligent party puts a stop to the policies and behavior that allowed the injury to occur in the first place.
Greening Law, P.C., is a dedicated supporter of Texas injury victims. If you or a loved one was harmed while in the care of a hospital or clinic, our lead attorney, Robert Greening, is ready to put more than 24 years of legal experience to work on your behalf. To schedule a consultation, contact us online or call 972-934-8900.