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The first person in the United States to contract Ebola has filed a lawsuit against the hospital where she was working when she contracted the disease. Nina Pham was working as a nurse at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas last fall, when she and a coworker contracted the deadly disease.
On Monday, Pham filed a suit against the hospital's parent company, Texas Health Resources, claiming negligence, fraud, and invasion of privacy.
Virus Hits Home
Pham and fellow nurse Amber Vinson both treated Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian man who contracted Ebola in West Africa. Duncan succumbed to the virus in late September; Pham and Vinson fell ill in early October.
Both women have been declared Ebola-free, but Pham points to lingering medical and emotional issues as the basis of her legal claim.
Unprepared Hospital Personnel
Pham contends she and other staff weren't given the proper equipment and training to safely treat Duncan when he was admitted to the hospital's intensive care unit. She argues employer negligence was the reason she contracted Ebola and continues to suffer from fatigue, body aches, and liver problems.
Pham also claims the hospital made false statements regarding her condition and released a video of her treatment at the hospital without her permission. The nurse asked to be a "No information" patient and claims the hospital disclosed highly personal medical information without her consent.
Pham's lawsuit is seeking both compensatory damages for medical expenses, loss of earning capacity, and loss of reputation, as well as punitive damages to punish the hospital.
The Hospital's Response
Texas Health Resources has about 20 days to file a legal response to Pham's complaint. According to The New York Times, a spokesman for Texas Health said Pham is "still a member of our team," and that the hospital is "optimistic that we can resolve this matter."