Nina Pham, the nurse who contracted Ebola while caring for Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian man who entered the United States infected with the fatal virus, reached a settlement in a lawsuit she filed against Texas Health Resources, the parent company of the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas.
This came two years after the former critical care nurse became infected with Ebola while treating Duncan. He was the first confirmed Ebola case on U.S. soil and died on October 8, 2014, roughly two weeks after he was admitted into the Dallas hospital.
Pham’s attorneys and THR announced the settlement Monday. They issued a joint statement to the media: “Texas Health Resources and Ms. Pham have resolved the pending lawsuit, and wish the best for each other going forward. All parties have agreed the terms of the resolution are confidential and will not make additional statements or grant media interviews.”
Pham also filed a motion to dismiss her complaint. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. The Plaintiff’s Motion to Dismiss With Prejudice simply stated she “no longer wishes to pursue her claims” against THR and “all such claims are now resolved.”
In March 2015, Pham filed the lawsuit against THR. Breitbart Texas reported she alleged the hospital was unprepared to treat Ebola and did not do enough to keep her from contracting the illness. The complaint purported that Texas Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas had no written polices or procedures in place for treating Ebola and violated her privacy over releasing information about her health.
She asserted the hospital used her as a “PR pawn” to save their brand that was “tanking” over public perception the “hospital was incompetent” amid the Dallas Ebola scare. The complaint claimed THR released that her health, while hospitalized, improved when, in actuality, it deteriorated to “life threatening.”
The hospital denied these claims, maintaining they did not violate her privacy. They defended themselves by saying their staff was properly trained and used protective gear compliant with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.
In the lawsuit, Pham asked for unspecified damages for medical expenses, physical pain, mental anguish, physical impairment, loss of future earnings, and loss of reputation. She wondered if she would ever work as a nurse again. Pham was 26-years-old when she contracted Ebola and beginning her career as an intensive care unit (ICU) nurse. She worried about her own future health and associated healthcare costs, especially since little is known about the long-term effects of Ebola or the intense experimental drugs used to save her life. She questioned if she would be able to have children someday and addressed the toll the ordeal took on her personal life.
As part of her treatment, Pham was transferred to the National Institutes for Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, and released on October 24, 2014, declared Ebola-free. According to the Dallas Morning News, she still experiences health problems which may be related to the disease and/or experimental medicines. Pham also remained on the THR company payroll even though she did not return to work.
While hospitalized, authorities quarantined Pham’s King Charles Spaniel, Bentley, for the same 21 day Ebola incubation period customary for humans. He tested negative for the virus and the two were reunited upon Pham’s release from the NIH.
A second Dallas Presbyterian Hospital nurse, Amber Vinson, contracted Ebola while administering care for Duncan. She, too, survived.
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