After Dallas nurse Amber Joy Vinson ordered dresses from a bridal shop and contracted Ebola shortly after visiting, the Ohio-based boutique is suing a Texas hospital company — where Vinson works — for more than $1 million.
Vinson was diagnosed in October 2014 while she was caring for Thomas Eric Duncan, the first U.S. patient ever to have had the deadly disease, at Texas Health Presbyterian of Dallas.
The suit was filed Tuesday in the Dallas County and it alleges the hospital, along with its parent company Texas Health Resources, for negligence in permitting the nurse to have contact with other people in spite of her exposure to the virus.
No more than two days after treating the patient who died on Oct. 8 the same year, the nurse flew to her hometown in order to prepare for her wedding. It was then when she went shopping for dresses at Coming Attractions Bridal and Formal. She was diagnosed with Ebola a week later, on Oct. 15, two days after returning to Dallas from her trip.
Vinson's travel was traced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. From requiring the planes that she flew on to be cleaned; to monitoring the passengers she had contact with for possible symptoms of the disease; and watching the nurse's family back in Ohio — every measure was taken to insure caution.
It didn't take too long for the disease control officials to back track the bridal shop and temporarily closed it as part of the investigation procedure on the case. Customers who entered the store when Vinson was in the shop were also closely monitored and checked for symptoms. However, immediately after the incident, the shop was labeled as "the Ebola boutique," which made customers reluctant to go there even after the authorities decided it was safe to reopen.
"We get calls, 'Is it safe to come in there?'" explained the store manager Kayla Litz at the time.
As the shop never reopened, according to attorney Patrick Kelly, the suit asks for compensation for all the business loss since 2014.
"The necessary training, instruction, and personal protective equipment to prevent the spread of the disease" were not provided, according to the lawsuit.
Moreover, the Texas Health Resources state spokesman Stephen O'Brien doesn't seem to be too concerned about this issue at all.
"We're still reviewing the petition, but see no factual or legal basis for the arguments the plaintiff is making," O'Brien said.
The bride shop managers are all the more frustrated since some customers even asked for refunds for dresses they had already ordered.