Teresa Romero, the auxiliary nurse in Madrid who contracted Ebola from a patient brought in from Sierra Leone, and her husband, may sue Madrid Sanitation Councilman Javier Rodríguez after the latter hinted that Romero “hid information” about how she contracted the virus.
According to Spanish newspaper El Mundo, a friend of Romero’s and her husband, Javier Limón, said that the couple is planning to bring legal action against Rodríguez after Romero recovers for “declarations made last week in which he accused the patient of having hidden information.” Rodríguez had also made insensitive remarks dismissing the gravity of the Ebola virus; upon hearing that two beauticians had been quarantined for having come into contact with Romero during the virus’s incubation period, Rodríguez joked that “she couldn’t have been that bad if she was going to the beauty salon.” Rodríguez also claimed that “you don’t need a Master’s” to understand how to use the highly complex protective gear necessary to treat Ebola patients. The report notes that the couple may also sue Spanish Minister of Health Ana Mato, not just the local authority.
Rodríguez apologized to the couple yesterday in a public statement. “I give my most sincere apologies to Teresa,” Rodríguez stated, “an accredited professional with more than 15 years of experience, and a more committed woman than anyone. She, like many other excellent professionals, volunteered to treat the missionaries suffering from Ebola and deserves all my respect.”
The El Mundo report notes that the couple have refused to accept the apology.
The apology did not surface organically, but was a response to a scathing letter by Limón to Rodríguez in which he called for the latter to resign and alleged that his wife was given only 30 minutes to learn how to wear the required protective gear to safely interact with Ebola patients. Limón also accuses the Spanish government of incompetently handling the spread of Ebola: “When I hear that, in other countries, health care workers are quarantined after treating Ebola patients, I think that my wife did not need to be fighting for her life, Excalibur [the couple’s 12-year-old dog who was euthanized last week] would be alive, and none of us under quarantine would be in grave danger.”
Romero is believed to have improved immensely, with doctors reporting that her blood’s viral count has diminished to “millions of times” less since her initial arrival at the hospital. Romero has recovered enough to have had her first conversation with Limón today, in which she reportedly told him she has “no doubts” about treating Ebola patients again, adding, “I have antibodies now.”