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Analysis

Nurse Who Treated N.Y.'s Coronavirus 'Patient Zero' Sues Hospital, Report Says

By Jack O'Brien  
   June 01, 2020

The anonymous healthcare worker filed her lawsuit against NewYork-Presbyterian Lawrence Hospital on Saturday.

A nurse who treated New York's 'patient zero' for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak, has sued the hospital she works at for failing to protect her from the infection. 

The anonymous healthcare worker filed a lawsuit against NewYork-Presbyterian Lawrence Hospital in Manhattan Supreme Court on Saturday, according to a report in the New York Post.

A filing for the case is listed on the court's website but there is no link to a digital copy of the complaint.

Related: Doctor Fired After Blasting COVID Preparations Sues Bellingham Hospital

According to The Post, her lawyers said that the nurse and her colleagues at the Westchester County hospital were "offered up as sacrificial lambs to be slaughtered by the COVID-19 virus."

The nurse's suit claims that Lawrence Garbuz, noted as the state's first patient to be diagnosed with COVID-19, was admitted to the hospital on February 27 but wasn't tested for the virus until five days later.

The nurse claims that while she and another nurse expressed concerns that the patient was exhibiting symptoms for the virus before he was even tested, the hospital only provided them with surgical masks to wear while on the job instead of face shields and N-95 masks.

Related: 'It Feels Like a War Zone': Doctors and Nurses Plead for N95 Masks on Social Media

Subsequently, both the nurse and her family contracted the virus and "sustained serious, irreversible injuries as a result of her exposure to COVID-19," according to the filing.

The suit claims that NewYork-Presbyterian failed to adhere to guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to handle patients infected with COVID-19.

The hospital declined comment to The Post.

Related: OSHA Probing Health Worker Deaths But Urges Inspectors To Spare The Penalties

Jack O'Brien is the finance editor at HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.

Photo credit: New York, NY - April 1, 2020: Nurses examine newly arrived patient at triage tent set outside at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn where patients for COVID-19 have been treated / Editorial credit: lev radin / Shutterstock.com


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