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Nurse Who Survived Ebola To File Lawsuit Against Employer

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM)  - Four months after being discharged Ebola free from National Institute of Health in Maryland, Dallas nurse Nina Pham is still searching for answers.

On Monday she will file a lawsuit against her employer, Texas Health Resources.

According to her attorney the lawsuit claims Texas Health Resources failed to provide Pham with the proper training and equipment needed to safely treat a patient with Ebola.

The lawsuit also claims Texas Health Resources violated her privacy and used Pham as a "PR pawn".

"She wants answers," said her attorney Charla Aldous. "She wants transparency."

Pham was the dayside primary nurse for Eric Duncan, the first person in the United States diagnosed with Ebola. She spent 12 to 14 hours a day treating Duncan.

Then just a few days after Duncan died, the 26-year-old nurse tested positive for Ebola.

Her attorney said she believes Pham contracting the virus is the direct result of a lack of training.

"Before her nurse manager came to her and said you are about to receive this patient, Mr. Duncan, and he could possibly have Ebola, not one single person at Presbyterian Hospital or THR (Texas Health Resources) had ever uttered the word Ebola to Nina Pham," Aldous said. "She received no training what so ever."

Aldous also said it wasn't until Pham's third day of treating Duncan that she was provided a hazmat suit. Prior to that Pham used double gloves, double gowns, and a face shield.

In October in front of Congress, Texas Health Resources Chief Clinical Officer Dr. Daniel Varga admitted the CDC sent the hospital an email bulletin about Ebola protection prior to Duncan's arrival. Varga acknowledge more focused training was needed.

In response to the lawsuit, Texas Health Resources spokesperson Wendell Watson issued the following statement: "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."

Pham's attorney said the Dallas hospital violated Pham's privacy by sharing her medical records and that the public relations department "used" Pham.

While still in isolation being treated for Ebola, Aldous said the public relations department with Texas Health Resources reached out to Pham and asked if it could give the news media quotes on her behalf. While Pham agreed, Aldous said the message was twisted.

"They put it out into the news media that Nina Pham wants to tell you the following - which wasn't true. To me it just shows a callus. It looks like that THR was more concerned about its image than about Nine Pham," Aldous said.

Pham, still employed and receiving a paycheck from Texas Health Resources, has not returned to work. She continues to experience fatigue, body aches, and just recently started losing her hair. Aldous said it's unclear if these side effects are the result of having Ebola or the four experimental drugs she was given during her treatment.


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