Nina Pham was an ICU nurse at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital who was infected with Ebola after treating Thomas E. Duncan, a man from Liberia who died of the disease in October 2014.

Duncan was the first Ebola case in the United States. He died just 18 days after flying into Dallas from an area in East Africa where over 3,000 people had already died in the outbreak.

Unlike most viruses, Ebola spreads by physical contact with an infected person or animal. The early symptoms are flu-like with fever, sore throat, headache, vomiting, and diarrhea, and stomach pain.

On September 24, Duncan developed a fever and went to the emergency room at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital. He told the nurse he had just arrived from Africa, but was misdiagnosed with the flu and sent home.

On September 28, he returned to the hospital in far worse condition. The next day, Pham treated Duncan for the first time, cleaning up body fluids and monitoring vital signs in a regular isolation gown.

Pham cared for Duncan on and off between September 29 and October 7. In her lawsuit, she says nurses had to improvise protective gear and a makeshift quarantine room.

Duncan tested positive for Ebola on September 30 and died on October 8. On October 12, Pham began showing symptoms and tested positive for Ebola. One other nurse, Amber Joy Vinson, also contracted Ebola.

When Pham recovered from Ebola, she sued the owner of the hospital — Texas Health Resources — for failing to provide adequate protective gear or training to staff on how to treat Ebola patients.

Two years after her ordeal, Texas Health Resources settled her lawsuit and apologized for not properly diagnosing Duncan. The company also paid an undisclosed amount of money to Duncan’s parents and four of his children.

Source: Dallas Morning News

Posted by Elizabeth Bradley

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