HEALTH

Ebola-stricken Spanish nurse to file $373,000 lawsuit for killing of her dog, damages to 'her name'

Medical workers talk to Teresa Romero, centre, before she leaves the Carlos III hospital in Madrid, Spain, Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2014.

Medical workers talk to Teresa Romero, centre, before she leaves the Carlos III hospital in Madrid, Spain, Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2014.  (ap)

Teresa Romero, the Spanish nursing assistant who became the first – and only – person infected with Ebola in Europa, will sue the Health Council of Madrid for 300,000 euros, or $373,000, her lawyer’s office said Monday.

The lawsuit seeks 150,000 euros, or about $186,000, in compensation for damages inflicted to “her name” after the Heath Councilor of Madrid, Javier Rodriguez, accused her of concealing information about her case, and another 150,000 euros for the killing her beloved pet dog, Excalibur.

Romero will also join a criminal complaint filed by nurses at Carlos III Hospital demanding an undisclosed amount "for weaknesses in the implementation of security protocols in infections by Ebola," according to a note sent by the law firm to El País newspaper.

Romero, who was released from the hospital last week after a month-long stay, continues to recover at her mother’s house outside Madrid. On her way out from the hospital, she spoke briefly with reporters and said she didn’t know what procedures had failed that resulted in her contracting the virus or “even if something had failed at all.”

"We have the best healthcare in the world despite the disastrous policy management," she then said, adding that she holds no "bitterness or reproach."

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Romero's lawyers are filing the suit on the grounds that Rodriguez made statements that tarnished her reputation. The complaint lists all of Counselor Rodriguez's remarks to the press, including statements he made saying that Romero fell ill because of mistakes on her part and claimed she did not follow protocol as strictly as she should have.

According to El País, any money she makes through the lawsuit she plans to donate “in full or in part” to associations that work for the defense of animals.

Romero was the first known person to contract the disease outside of West Africa in the latest outbreak. She had treated two Spanish missionaries who died of Ebola at the hospital in August and September after they were flown back from West Africa.

Meanwhile, the Maine nurse who battled politicians over her quarantine after she returned from treating Ebola patients in West Africa also spoke out saying she wants to become an advocate on behalf of public health workers.

Monday marks the 21st day since Kaci Hickox's last exposure to an Ebola patient, a 10-year-old girl who suffered seizures before dying alone without family.

On Tuesday, Hickox will no longer require daily monitoring for Ebola symptoms, and said she looks forward to stepping out her front door "like normal people."

But the Texas native said she won't back away from the debate over treatment of health care workers.

"In the past, a quarantine was something that was considered very extreme. I'm concerned about how lightly we're taking this concept today," said Hickox, who defied state-ordered quarantine attempts in New Jersey and Maine. "I'm concerned that the wrong people are leading the debate and making the decisions."

According to the World Health Organization, there have been about 13,268 Ebola cases and 4,960 deaths since the first child died of the virus in December.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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