nurses-get-hurt-on-the-jobNurses and other healthcare professionals put themselves on the front lines of medicine every day, working to ensure that everyone gets the attention and care that they need. Sometimes, that self-sacrifice can come with tremendous personal risk. Orderlies and nursing assistants, for example, are three times more likely to suffer back injuries or other musculoskeletal damage than construction workers as a result of their work. Other times, the dangers are much more immediate, like exposure to a deadly virus.

That was exactly what happened more than a year ago when Nina Pham, an intensive care nurse with Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, was assigned to care for a man with Ebola. The patient, Thomas Eric Duncan, contracted the terrifying virus, which can cause severe bleeding and organ failure. Most ebola patients contract the disease after a visit to Africa; sadly, in this case the patient did not survive.

In turn, Pham and one other nurse, Amber Vinson, both contracted the highly communicable disease. They were put under quarantine and survived, but Pham alleged that the hospital did not do enough to prevent staff workers from catching or spreading Ebola. Texas Health Resources, the owners of the hospital, argued that Pham should have filed a workers compensation claim, as her illness was a direct result of her job. But Pham didn’t think that was enough.

“I was hoping that THR would be more open and honest about everything that happened at the hospital, and the things they didn’t do that led to me getting infected with Ebola,” she said.

Among the claims filed by her lawyers, Pham said that the nurses had received no training on how to protect themselves around an Ebola patient, that hazardous materials were improperly disposed, and that “the sum total” of her safety instructions consisted of “what her manager Googled and printed out from the Internet.” In lieu of a workers compensation claim, Pham filed for full litigation, insisting that her reputation as a nurse was compromised by the incident and that her health may yet suffer long-term consequences.

According to a joint statement from Texas Health Resources and Pham’s legal team, the two parties “have resolved the pending lawsuit, and wish the best for each other going forward.” No further details were released about the terms of the settlement. While being exposed to ebola is an extreme form of workplace injury, countless American workers are injured on the job every day. If you’ve suffered an injury in the workplace in Arizona, contact our workers comp lawyers to learn more about your rights.