Texas Judge Issues a Hold on Workers’ Compensation Claim for Nurse Who Contracted Ebola

A Texas district court judge recently issued a hold on a workers’ compensation claim filed by Texas Health Resources (THR) regarding Nina Pham, a nurse at a Texas hospital who contracted Ebola while caring for a patient.

The Dallas Morning News has reported that Pham never sought benefits from a workers’ compensation claim after she contracted the disease in October 2014 while caring for an infected patient at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, which is owned by THR. The patient, Thomas Eric Duncan, was the first patient in the U.S. to be diagnosed with Ebola. He contracted the disease while staying in his home country of Liberia, and he died while receiving care at Presbyterian.

Pham and her attorneys have filed a lawsuit against THR rather than filing a workers’ compensation claim, and THR responded by filing a claim for her. According to Pham’s attorneys, the new claim was filed by workers compensation attorneys at THR in an attempt to get the original lawsuit dismissed.

CBS reports that Pham is still having health problems that resulted from the disease itself and from the experimental drugs that were administered while she was being treated. Additionally, Pham has claimed that the hospital released her personal information to the public without her consent.

Pham is still employed at Presbyterian, although she has not been working at the hospital in recent months. Her lawsuit is technically filed against THR, the hospital’s parent company, and would not affect the hospital if she wins.

The question now is whether Pham has a right to sue THR for the lack of training and protective equipment at Presbyterian. The Dallas Morning News explains that the court must now decide if Pham was an employee of THR, of the hospital, or of both.

Texas courts will be holding an official hearing for the workers’ compensation claim, which was placed on hold by State District Judge Martin Hoffman. No date has been set yet, but the hearing will likely be held within the next week.

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