There are numerous medical, political, and legal issues engulfing the topic of Ebola. The National Stage is being set for an outbreak that could potentially spiral out of control here in the United States as it has abroad. From Hospitals to Airplanes, Buses, the closing of schools, and the closing of businesses, there does not seem to be a clear end in sight on this issue.
As an attorney, I began to immediately see the potential legal issues associated with these cases. Not so much with the first two (2) infected individuals to arrive in the United States at Emory University for treatment, but more so with the death in Texas of a person who lied to authorities of his recent travels, and the diagnosis of the two (2) nurses who treated the now deceased Ebola patient in particular.
For example, the legal claims that these nurses and their families could potentially have include, but are not limited to, the following:
1.) Workers’ Compensation: They most likely contracted the virus in the course of employment.
2.) Medical Malpractice: The evidence seems to show that the Hospital did not have appropriate practices in place to protect its workers or others from this deadly disease in the hospital setting.
3.) Federal Tort Claims: The evidence is mounting that the CDC (Center for Disease Control) also does not have adequate measures to deal with an outbreak of this disease nor does the Federal government.
In Atlanta, Georgia this past week at the Public Health Law Conference the topics on the agenda were, among other things, tobacco, obesity, and the policy for vaccinations, but the topic that everyone who attended ultimately came back to was Ebola, and how could it not take center stage?
We have been preparing for a biological type warfare for over 15 years and, although the virus that is sweeping the nation with fear does not smell of war, it does have the odor of the fact that we, as a nation, are not prepared for this type of pandemic regardless of our years of preparation.
As Gene Matthews, an Attorney who is in the Network of the Law for Public Health and a previous legal advisor to the CDC in Atlanta, GA states, “Clearly it’s been a wake-up call in a number of directions.” All who participated in the conference had to admit at some point that these policies and procedures were put into place by humans and that humans make mistakes.
Until this disease is clearly defined and under control, there will be many legal aspects to follow and pursue surrounding this evil contender tantamount to a biological terrorist attack. When you watch the news, for example, and look at the map of the flight pattern of the airline that was occupied by one of the Texas’ nurses who contracted the disease, you begin to realize how this could spiral out of control and in a hurry.
Georgia may be a long way from that Emergency Room in Texas where the gruesome events of the caring for the Ebola patient who is now deceased transpired, but the airliner that carried the infected nurse did touch down in Atlanta and, even if for a brief moment, that brings the message close enough to home for most. Not to mention that Emory University in Atlanta, GA, as well as the CDC in Atlanta, GA are fast becoming the nationally recognized treatment and research centers for this deadly disease.
At Julie A. Rice, Attorney at Law, & Affiliates, we are experts in all of the potential legal practice areas that an infected individual, and his or her family, could potentially claim such as mentioned above including, but not limited to, Workers’ Compensation, Medical Malpractice, the Federal Tort Claims Act, and, ultimately Wrongful Death Claims.
If you or a loved one have been affected by this disease then Contact Us as soon as possible for your free legal consultation.
We are accepting cases in both Georgia and Florida.
I will continue my discussion of Ebola in my next blog post titled, “Ebola Is Not Only a Hot Topic on the National Stage but also a Hot Topic in Atlanta, Georgia at the Public Health Law Conference ~ part 2.”