Experimental drugs and special care helped make Nina Pham Ebola free. But today she fears she may never escape the deadly disease.
The 26-year-old nurse says she has nightmares, body aches and insomnia as a result of contracting the disease from a patient she cared for last fall at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas.
She says the hospital and its parent company, Texas Health Resources, failed her and her colleagues who cared for Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person in the United States diagnosed with Ebola.
“I wanted to believe that they would have my back and take care of me, but they just haven’t risen to the occasion,” Pham told The Dallas Morning News last week in an exclusive interview.
Pham says she will file a lawsuit Monday in Dallas County against Texas Health Resources alleging that while she became the American face of the fight against the disease, 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.”
She says that Texas Health Resources was negligent because it failed to develop policies and train its staff for treating Ebola patients. She says Texas Health Resources did not have proper protective gear for those who treated Duncan.
Texas Health Resources responded Friday with a statement from spokesman Wendell Watson.
“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.”
Watson declined to address the specifics of Pham’s allegations.
Pham wants unspecified damages for physical pain and mental anguish, medical expenses and loss of future earnings. But she said 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.”
In her 90-minute interview, Pham described working in chaotic surroundings at the hospital with ill-prepared nurses who received little guidance on how to treat Ebola and protect themselves. She talked about her life since her diagnosis and recovery, as well as her anxiety about the future.
Pham occasionally twisted a ring on her finger or slid a finger inside the cuff of her shirt and nervously tapped her wrist. She kept her composure except when she recalled the nurses who became “like family” to her when they cared for Duncan together and later risked their lives to treat her and Amber Vinson, another nurse at the hospital who contracted the disease from Duncan.
SOURCE: Jennifer Emily
The Dallas Morning News