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Texas Nurse Sues Dallas Hospital Over Ebola Infection

Facility charged with negligence and deception

A nurse has filed a suit against the Texas hospital where she worked, saying it did not do enough to prevent her from being infected with Ebola and invaded her privacy after she was diagnosed with the virus.

In the suit that Nina Pham brought against Texas Health Resources (THR) in Dallas County Court, filed on March 2, she claims the hospital did not initially provide nurses with proper protective equipment or properly train staff on how to treat the disease.

The suit accuses the hospital of negligence and deception. It does not specify an amount in damages.

On March 1, Pham told the Dallas Morning News in an exclusive interview that she had nightmares, body aches, and insomnia as a result of contracting the disease. She went on to say that the extent of her Ebola training was a printout of guidelines that her supervisor found on the Web. “The only thing I knew about Ebola, I learned in nursing school” six years earlier, she said.

Pham became the first person to contract the disease in the U.S. when she was treating a man who contracted the virus in Liberia.

“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. But that didn’t happen, and I felt I was left with no choice but to turn to the courts for help,” Pham said in a statement accompanying her lawsuit.

The hospital did not address the details of Pham’s accusations and said in a statement: “As distressing as the lawsuit is to us, we remain optimistic that we can resolve this matter with Nina.”

In her newspaper interview, Pham alleged that while she became the American face of the fight against the Ebola virus, the hospital’s lack of training and proper equipment, and violations of her privacy, made her “a symbol of corporate neglect — a casualty of a hospital system’s failure to prepare for a known and impending medical crisis.”

Sources: Reuters; March 2, 2015; and Dallas Morning News; March 1, 2015.

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