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Ebola Patient Lawsuit Very Important

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By James Girards,

In catching up on news this morning, I came across an ABC News story about the most surprising allegations contained in the lawsuit filed by Ebola nurse Nina Pham against Presbyterian Hospital's parent company Texas Health Resources. It is a reminder of just how badly Presbyterian violated the public's trust - not just for this event but for years. A breach exacerbated by Texas laws that make legal recourse for medical malpractice injuries extremely difficult to accomplish. Those of us who do medical malpractice lawsuits [and thus see data that the general public often does not]  were not really surprised as the story unfolded those months ago but even the most cynical of us were left shaking our heads at Presbyterian's conduct. So, no mattter how you feel about this nurse suing Presbyterian, consider the pertinent facts and history that left every potential patient in the Presbyterian service area at needless risk of serious harm. Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas is located at Walnut Hill Lane and Greenville Avenue in Dallas, Texas. There is a large population of African immigrants located less than one-half mile from that intersection [ie, walking distance]. These are hard-working folks looking for a better life who came to Dallas from Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Congo, and Liberia among others. According to immigrationpolicy.org there were over 20,000 African-born residents of Dallas in 2000; the population had doubled in the previous decade. The number had likely doubled since 2000.  As with all immigrant populations, it can be assumed there is frequent travel of residents and their family members to and from their home countries. According to the CDC website, Ebola outbreaks in West Africa are relatively frequent, occuring from every decade up to every one to two years depending on the time period one is reviewing. The Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2013-2014 was a big one that dominated the news for months. Taken together, an Ebola patient walking into the ER at Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas was not an "if" but a "when." A hospital that receives government money and demands public trust is expected to be prepared for foreseeable events - even if those events are rare. Hazmat training for hospital staff is a no-brainer - whether it is disease or radiation. Nina Pham's lawsuit is important because if she were a patient who had come into the ER at the same time as Ebola patient No. 1 and sat next to him and contracted Ebola because the hospital wasn't doing its job, then no lawsuit would be possible because of the legal barriers put in place by the Texas legislature. No lawsuit means the hospital gets to cover everything up and post videos making everything appear normal. Because Ms. Pham was a staff member of the hospital, we are instead able to see just how pathetic Presbyterian's preparation for Ebola actually was. You can read the allegations by clicking here. This is the only reason why Presbyterian will be incentivized to properly prepare for the next Ebola patient - and by extension do its job of protecting other patients and staff members who encounter such a patient in the future. We'll be watching this one closely.

For more information or help on any medical malpractice case in Texas, Oklahoma, or Arkansas, contact the Girards Law Firm at one of our offices:

Dallas Office:

10000 N Central, Suite 400
Dallas, TX 75231

Phone: 214-346-9529

Arkansas office:

609 SW 8th Street, Suite 600
Bentonville, AR 72712

Phone: (501) 288-9529

Oklahoma Office:

1831 E 71st Street
Tulsa, OK 74136

Phone: 405-598-7825

Category: Medical Malpractice

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