Via Forbes.com: Pham Ebola Lawsuit Could Be Landmark For Patient Safety. Excerpt and then a comment:
Pham’s suit, which does not ask for any specific damages, details numerous supposed lapses at the hospital. ABC News detailed “four of the most surprising allegations” Monday: the hospital lied in announcing Pham’s condition had improved to “good”; Pham did not give permission for the hospital to release or even shoot a video of her in isolation during her care; Pham did not want her name made public; and prior to treating Duncan, she was only given basic information about Ebola from a Google search by her boss.
The middle two charges, if true, would constitute pretty blatant violations of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) privacy regulations.
If you know anything about the poor state of care and management in so many U.S. hospitals, none of those things — if they prove to be true, and Texas Health Resources has denied the allegations — should surprise you. There is far too much variation in care standards across the country and even within institutions. There is far too little accountability for mistakes. There is far too much guesswork in treating people with rare conditions.
Nor should anyone be surprised by the charge that nurses were not given clear protocols for wearing protective gear around Ebola patients or that they had to come up with a makeshift, dangerous method of disposing of contaminated garments and medical supplies.
As I wrote back in October, when it first became apparent that there were no protocols anywhere in the U.S. for treating Ebola, haphazard application of care standards — if they even exist — seems to be the rule rather than the exception in American healthcare.
Pham certainly deserves some compensation for the work time she lost while she was sick with the Ebola virus. She might deserve compensation for pain and suffering as well, but we should let the legal process play out there.
What I really hope comes out of this suit is a promise by Texas Health Resources to implement better processes for assuring patient safety and for holding staff and management alike accountable for their actions.
Anything less, including a monetary settlement with no promise to adhere to protocols and regulations, would be a loss for patients everywhere.
Visit @Nina_Pham and you'll be struck by two things: the remarkable scurrility of some of the tweets, and the fact that it hasn't been updated since March 1. I suspect Ms Pham has shut the site down. If so, it's a pity; she certainly must have far more supporters than detractors.