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Family of California Teen Declared Brain Dead Sues Hospital for Malpractice

Keep Jahi Mcmath on life support/Facebook(OAKLAND, Calif.) -- The California family that fought to keep their teenage daughter on life support after she was declared brain dead is suing her doctor and the hospital where she went into cardiac arrest for negligence and wrongful death -- if "it is determined" that the girl indeed succumbed to her injuries.

Jahi McMath was 13 years old when her heart stopped at Benioff Children's Hospital in Oakland, California, after complications from surgery to cure her sleep apnea in December 2013. Then, doctors declared her brain dead, but her family fought and won a legal battle to move her from California to a long-term care facility in New Jersey, where her mother told ABC News she can respond to basic commands by moving her feet and arms.

With a day to go before the statute of limitations runs out, the family is now suing Benioff Children's Hospital for malpractice and asking for unspecified damages, according to California malpractice attorney Bruce Brusavich. He told ABC News he planned to file the suit Tuesday, and that the family has "mixed emotions" about it.

"The mother never had any explanation as to how this happened," Brusavich said. "But it doesn't really change anything in terms of the profound brain damage to the child."

The suit, an advance copy that Brusavich gave to ABC News, alleges that the doctor was negligent because he did not follow the standard of care for treating Jahi's sleep apnea and instead opted for invasive surgery on Dec. 9, 2013, removing her tonsils, adenoids, soft pallet and uvula as well as doing work on the inside of her nose. The doctor allegedly noted that Jahi might have a malformed carotid artery at the surgical site, which would have put her at risk for life-threatening bleeding, but he didn't inform the medical staff after he noticed it during surgery, according to the suit.

When Jahi's parents were allowed to see her after surgery at 7:30 p.m., they say they were concerned because she was coughing up a lot of blood, according to the suit. After the nurses disagreed over whether to suction the blood or let Jahi's blood clot so she could heal, her mother asked that a doctor be called, according to the suit. They "estimated that Jahi had lost three pints of blood or more," according to the suit.

The suit alleges that the surgeon did not come until after midnight to check on Jahi as she deteriorated and her oxygen and heart rate took a dive. The doctor allegedly wasn't summoned until Jahi's grandmother, a nurse at another hospital, shouted at Jahi's nurses to do so, according to the suit. When a doctor arrived, he said "S***, her heart stopped," according to the suit. They tried to revive the teen for two hours and 33 minutes, but they never performed an emergency tracheotomy, according to the suit. They pumped about two liters of blood out of her lungs, it says.

In the days that followed, the hospital allegedly told Jahi's parents that she had "sustained significant brain damage," and they put her on the organ donor list and were preparing to take her off life support, the suit says. They never got an explanation for how this happened to Jahi, the suit says.

"What is it you don't understand? She is dead, dead, dead, dead!" the hospital's chief of pediatrics told the family, according to the suit.

The family is suing for personal injuries, negligent infliction of personal distress and wrongful death, if it is eventually determined that Jahi died in December 2013, which would go against the family's repeated assertion for more than a year that Jahi is not brain dead.

The family will seek damages, but a dollar figure was not listed on the suit. Brusavich told ABC News that non-economic damages in California cannot exceed $250,000.

The hospital released the following statement to ABC News: "Our hearts go out to the McMath family. It is our policy not to comment on pending litigation."

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Virus Delays Homecoming for Toddler Who Received Liver From Dad

Liver Transplants for our Vietnamese Twin Girls/Facebook(TORONTO) -- A long-awaited homecoming was delayed for a toddler who received a liver transplant, with her father as the donor, after she contracted a virus.

Phuoc Wagner made headlines along with her twin sister Binh when both girls needed a liver transplant to survive and their father, Michael Wagner, could only donate to one. Phuoc underwent the surgery last month after doctors determined she needed the operation sooner than her sister.

While both the 3-year-old girl and her father are recovering, Phuoc’s return home was delayed this week after she contracted the norovirus, or stomach flu, according to the family’s Facebook page.

“No homecoming yet: norovirus is keeping Phuoc in hospital,” Johanne Wagner, the twin’s mother, wrote on Facebook. “And norovirus in my house as well. Homefront needs to be clear before they can come home.”

Johanne Wagner also confirmed they still are waiting to hear about the possibility of a living donor for Binh Wagner. Both Binh and Phuoc needed liver transplants after suffering liver damage because of a genetic condition called Alagille syndrome.

In an earlier post this week Johanne Wagner said she worried about having Phuoc back after her transplant.

“It is scary though to welcome her back so soon after transplant,” Wagner wrote on Facebook. “A lot of new stuff to assimilate. Daily nursing visits for weeks to come to administer IV meds and perform bloodwork. But most of all, the fear of something going wrong, and quickly.”

However, Wagner said she is eager for Phuoc to reunite with her twin sister Binh. She posted a few pictures of Binh this week playing and even dancing with her older brother.

According to an earlier report from the Canadian Broadcasting Company, the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto has received 400 submissions from people offering to be a living donor for Binh.

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Virginia Girl with Cancer Gets Sweet 16 Surprise Party

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(WINCHESTER, Va.) -- Throwing a surprise “Sweet 16” party in the age of cellphones and social media is no easy task. But an entire Virginia community pulled it off for a girl with cancer.

The night of her birthday, Abby Snider thought she was going to give a speech to help raise money for the Stillbrave Childhood Cancer Foundation, a local charity that provides non-medical support for the families of kids with cancer. It was all part of an elaborate ruse to bring the teen to the George Washington Hotel in Winchester, Virginia, last Thursday evening, where 100 people (including a team from ABC News affiliate WJLA) were waiting.

Snider, who was diagnosed with leukemia a year ago, spent weeks writing her speech. At the same time, a group of friends, family and complete strangers worked quietly behind her back to plan the big bash. AES, a local car service, provided a stretch limo. SAS salon arranged for makeup. Other vendors donated food, flowers, photography and entertainment.

Snider’s parents had wanted to throw her the fancy sweet 16 she has been dreaming about since she was 2, she said, but with the mounting medical bills it just wasn’t in their budget. Tom Mitchell, who runs StillBrave, stepped in to rally local businesses.

“It was amazing to see how many people in community embraced the idea and helped to pull it all together,” he said.

Snider was expecting a car to pick her up for the fundraiser, so she said she was pleased rather than suspicious when a stretch limo pulled up to her house. She thought the makeup session was simply a nice touch too. None of this tipped her off to the party.

But when she walked into the ballroom and everyone shouted, “Surprise,” Snider told ABC News she was blown away.

“At first I was confused and then I started screaming and then I started crying," she said. “It was awesome. I literally felt like Cinderella for the night.”

Snider said the chemo used to treat her disease has brought her to the brink of death several times. Just recently she spent three weeks in the hospital with acute pancreatitis that resulted from her latest treatment.

“There are times you just want to give up but you have to keep going,” she said. “Even when it’s hard you just have to keep fighting.”

After missing last year’s birthday because she was too ill, Snider said she’d hoped for some kind of party this year, even if it was something small. Mitchell told ABC News he was relieved that all involved managed to keep it a secret.

“I hated lying to her but she definitely bought it hook, line and sinker,” he said.

Mitchell said the only downside to the ruse was that Snider worked so hard on a speech she didn’t get to deliver. But Snider said she’s good with that.

“I was freaking out about it and I was so relieved I didn’t have to give it,” she said. “I’ll save it for another time.”


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Breast Augmentation: Smaller Implants Becoming a Bigger Trend

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Victoria Beckham, Heidi Montag, Pamela Anderson and Tamra Barney have all had their implants downsized or removed all together.

And the trend is catching on with everyday women, according to plastic surgeons.

Though there are “regional differences” when it comes to requested cup size, said Dr. David Hidalgo, a New York City plastic surgeon, “natural is now the look.”

Dr. Elie Levine, AOB Med Spa National Medical Director and New York City plastic surgeon agreed.

“I’ve seen a significant change in the size of breast implants that my patients request for their breast augmentation surgery,” he said. “Many women simply want to increase their bust by approximately one cup size.”

Levine said that while the most-requested cup size used to be a D or DD, now, women more commonly request a B-cup or small C-cup size implants.

“Celebrities are also requesting more modest results when they undergo breast augmentation surgery,” he said.

While he wouldn't name names, Dr. Scot Glasberg, president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, also said the celebrities he sees in his practice are opting to trade in their larger implants for smaller ones.

But what’s modest in one place may not translate to another, Hidalgo said. While women in Miami might have one idea of what looks attractive, women in the Northeast tend to have another. Glasberg agreed, saying the trend is currently most prevalent in New York and Beverly Hills.

"It'll take awhile to catch on in Miami and Texas," he said, adding, however, that it "absolutely" would in time.

"Subtlety is in," Glasberg said. "Women are also taking into account the long-term effects. Since implants last longer now than they used to, they're asking 'do I really want these large breasts when I'm older?' They want to avoid another surgery, if possible."

Natural looking or not, breast augmentation remains one of the most popular plastic surgery procedures. According to the most recent data from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, in 2013, breast augmentation was the most popular cosmetic surgical procedure, with 290,000 performed.

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Most Surprising Allegations in Ebola Nurse Nina Pham's Lawsuit

Alex Wong/Getty Images)(DALLAS) -- The Dallas nurse who survived Ebola after catching it from her patient last fall may have smiled for the cameras during the harrowing ordeal, but now she's saying the hospital put its reputation above her needs.

Nina Pham, a 26-year-old nurse at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, caught Ebola from her patient, Liberian native Thomas Eric Duncan, who later died from the disease. Although Pham became the face of the hospital's public relations campaign after the hospital turned into "a ghost town," she sued its parent company, Texas Health Resources, Monday in Dallas. She did not specify the damages she’s seeking.

Here are four of the most surprising allegations made in Pham’s legal petition against the hospital network:

The hospital lied when it upgraded Pham's condition to "good," according to the suit.

On Oct. 14, Texas Health Resources announced that Pham was "in good condition." Meanwhile, health workers at the hospital were holding end-of-life discussions with Pham while at the same time they noted she was so impaired, she couldn't make these decisions on her own, according to the legal document.

Pham's mother heard the positive condition report on the news and called the hospital, only to find out that Pham was not in good condition, the lawsuit says.

Pham didn't know about the isolation room video.

The hospital released a video of Pham in its care before she was transported to the Special Clinical Studies Unit of the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland for further treatment, but Pham didn't give permission for the video to be shot or distributed, according to the lawsuit.

"Come to Maryland, everybody," Pham says in the video. She soon begins to wipe away tears and says, “I love you guys.”

The video was shot on a GoPro camera tucked under a physician's hood, according to the document. The physician didn't get the soundbites the hospital was looking for, but the video was edited and released to the media for a "rah rah" response, according to the suit.

"Never once did THR get Nina’s permission to be used as a PR pawn like this. Never once did THR discuss its purposes or motivations or tell Nina what it was going to do with the information it sought from her," the suit reads.

When she got sick, Pham didn't want the public to know her name.

On her way to her hospital's emergency room with possible Ebola symptoms, Pham called the hospital and asked for her privacy, according to the suit. She didn't want anyone to know she might have Ebola.

"Shortly before midnight, the chief nursing officer for Presbyterian came into Nina’s room wearing a full hazmat suit. Nina could tell from his red eyes that it was bad news," the suit reads. "That’s when she was told she had tested positive for Ebola."

Then, despite her life-threatening illness and medications, the public relations department of the hospital's parent company called Pham repeatedly, according to the lawsuit.

In a statement to employees, the hospital said Monday night that it "was sensitive to Nina’s privacy, and we adhered to HIPAA rules in determining what information to share publicly. We had Nina’s consent to share the information about her that was released."

She received only "Googled" Ebola information from her bosses before meeting Duncan.

Thomas Eric Duncan, the first patient to be diagnosed with Ebola on U.S. soil, had been at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas for a day and a half when Pham's boss told her that he would become her patient in the intensive care unit.

"The sum total of the information Nina was provided to protect herself before taking on her patient was what her manager 'Googled' and printed out from the Internet," the suit alleges.

The nurses made up their own personal protective gear protocols because they had no other instructions. And they disposed of hazardous waste by tying the material in knotted sheets and putting it in a nearby room, because proper hazmat teams were not called in.

"Nina Pham would have been better off treating Mr. Duncan in a Liberian Ebola center than in THR’s signature hospital," the lawsuit states.

Texas Health Resources spokesperson Wendell Watson released the following statement Monday: "Nina Pham served very bravely during a most difficult time as we all struggled to deal with the first case of Ebola to arrive in a U.S. hospital's emergency room. Texas Health Resources has a strong culture of caring and compassion, and we view all our employees as part of our family. That's why we have continued to support Nina both during and after her illness, and it's why she is still a member of our team. As distressing as the lawsuit is to us, we remain optimistic that we can resolve this matter with Nina."

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Man's Seeing Eye Dog Has Eye Troubles of His Own

KETV(NEW YORK) -- Ronald Henry's guide dog, Kehotay, has been by his side for the last eight years, but now it's the golden retriever who needs a helping hand.

Kehotay helps Henry get around because Henry lost his sight and hearing several years ago. But now, the 10-year-old golden retriever is having eye troubles of his own.

"I've been worried sick about him," Henry told ABC's Nebraska affiliate KETV. "He's my team, my partner."

The dog arrived at veterinarian Dr. Mike Hord's office with a cloudy right eye and corneal ulcers in December. But after the ulcers healed four weeks later, the pressure in the eye had more than tripled, which may be a sign of a bigger problem called pigmentary uveitis, which is common among golden retrievers, Hord said.

Now, Henry and Kehotay are headed to a specialist to make sure the condition isn't more serious, and that Kehotay can keep his right eye.

"They have definitely grown into quite the pair," Hord said, adding that he's been treating Kehotay for the last seven years. "All you have to do is see them together and you can tell that."

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Pregnant Women Turn to Alternative, 'Personalized' Birthing Options

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Giving birth is the most primal act in a woman’s life. And yet, modern medicine has turned birthing into a sterile, medical procedure, often performed in a hospital operating room.

But more and more women are rejecting the traditional hospital approach to delivery in favor of a more “personalized” birthing experience, with some literally going back to their primal roots by trekking into the wilderness to give birth.

Born in the Wild is a new reality TV show, which debuts on Lifetime on Tuesday at 10 p.m. It features expectant mothers who chose to give birth outside in the woods. Peter and Audrey Bird, who live in Alaska and have three children, are featured on the show. They said they had a negative experience in the hospital with the birth of their 6-year-old son.

"My labor was full of fear," Audrey, 25, says on the show. "That's not something that I ever wanted to do again.”

So to welcome their daughter Piper, they decided to go into the great outdoors to give birth in a makeshift tent, with no medical professionals.

"I’m excited to have my baby outside in Alaska," Audrey said. "We’re surrounded by the lake, the trees, and the clouds, and the mountains. It’s absolutely breathtaking. We are about a hundred miles from the nearest road. No power lines run to the property, no phone lines, we don't have a sewer system. On this side of the lake, it’s just us. There’s no neighbors. There’s no other families nearby. So we are very isolated."

Practicing OBGYN and ABC News contributor Dr. Jennifer Ashton said, while extreme, more women are taking control of their labor and delivery.

"I think there's no question we're certainly hearing a lot more about alternative births," Ashton said. "I think in large measure that comes because women are growing more and more dissatisfied with what’s being offered by their doctor, by their board certified OB or even in some cases by a certified nurse midwife, and it’s pushing them to seek out these more extreme birthing experiences."

In suburban New Jersey, Cheryl and Terrance Suydam decided to have all three of their children born at home.

With their third child, Cheryl planned to give birth in a tub set up in the family's living room, with two midwives and her husband on hand. In the final stages of labor, she decided instead to move to the family sofa, which had been covered in plastic. After 21 hours of labor, Cheryl delivered a healthy baby girl.

Throughout Suydam's delivery, the couple's two other kids, Livvy and Alex, who were ages 3 and 6 at the time, and even the family dog, freely walked in and out of the birthing room.

Out-of-hospital births are far from the norm. Only around 1 percent of births in the United States are done outside of a hospital, according to the most recent statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"The fact of the matter remains, that in obstetrics, there can be life and death, last minute emergencies that are unexpected, unanticipated, and if they occur outside of a safe hospital or birthing center setting can be disastrous for the mother or the baby," Ashton said.

But more U.S. hospitals are seeing the trend of mothers wanting options and now offer a variety of birthing experiences, including Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee.

Jennifer Horn had her son Seth at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and although it was her third time giving birth, it was the first time she was able to watch her baby being born.

Horn had previously given birth to two children via C-section, but for her third child, she decided to try Vanderbilt’s “family-friendly” C-section option.

With a traditional C-section, the surgical drape stays up for the entire surgery and the mother is cut off from the birthing process. Afterwards, the baby is usually whisked away to be cleaned up. But with the "family-friendly" option at Vanderbilt, the baby is given to the mother immediately after birth, so she can cradle her newborn, skin-to-skin.

"Studies have shown that babies who have that contact with mom, that skin-to-skin in the first hour, have higher rates of breastfeeding, longitudinally, over time when you look at that three months, six months," said anesthesiologist Dr. Sarah Starr, who helped develop the policy at Vanderbilt.

With this option, the surgical drape still goes up on the mother's midsection during the surgery, but when it's time for the baby to come out, the doctor opens a window in the drape so that the mother can have the same view of her baby being born as a mom giving birth vaginally would.

"It's just like vaginal birth. You don't see anything down there, but you get to see the baby come out," Horn said.

In the same hospital, another mom-to-be named Glenna Kramer opted for a completely different type of delivery for her first child. She wanted to have natural childbirth, without an epidural or an obstetrician present. Instead she had a midwife and a nurse help her through the delivery.

To ease the pain, Glenna used a tub of hot water, an option not available to women attached to IVs, and she had nitrous oxide, more commonly known as "laughing gas," to help take the edge off.

"[The nitrous oxide] more or less served the purpose of calming me down and helping me relax and helping me cope with the pain rather than taking the pain away," she said.

In the end, Glenna was snuggling happy, healthy baby boy she had brought into the world by doing it her way.


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Gender Identity is Biological, Study Says

ABC/Lou Rocco(BOSTON) -- There is a growing body of evidence that gender identity is hard wired into the brain and not simply a matter of psychology, according to a new Boston University School of Medicine study.

Writing in the journal Endocrine Practice, the researchers said that as many as one in 100 people could be living with some form of gender identity disorder -- meaning they may identify their gender differently than the one they were born with.

For example, actress Laverne Cox was born a man but identifies as a woman.

This makes the case for doctors to use surgery and hormone treatment rather than psychotherapy alone to help their patients come to terms with their gender identity, Dr. Joshua Safer, the lead researcher and a professor at BUSM, said.

“The paper was a comprehensive review of the scientific evidence that gender identity is a biological phenomenon," Safer explained. "As such it provides one of the most convincing arguments to date for all medical providers to gain the transgender medicine skills necessary to provide good care for these individuals," he added.

Nearly 40 percent of medical students they surveyed said they were uncomfortable caring for transgendered patients, and 5 percent of medical students said that the treatment was not part of conventional medicine. After teaching a course that raised the medical students' awareness about transgender medical need, the students' discomfort dropped by 67 percent.

Safer and the other authors of the study said they hope to change the perception of transgendered people within the healthcare system so that they get better treatment. But because the study was small, it does have limitations, the researchers said, and there should be additional investigation to focus on the specific biologic mechanisms for gender identity.

The ABC News National health team would also like to raise awareness about gender identity and what it means to be transgendered. We’re holding a tweet chat on the topic Tuesday at 1 p.m. ET. Dr. Richard Besser, ABC News chief health and medical correspondent, will moderate. We’ll be joined by experts, patients and loved ones to talk about the challenges of being transgendered and what that means for overall health and wellbeing.

Joining the chat is easy. Click here to learn more.

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High Numbers of Teens Are Victims of Dating Violence

AbleStock.com/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) -- A new survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that just over 20 percent of all teenage girls and one in 10 teen boys have experienced at least one instance of violence while dating over the past 12 months.

Although the CDC has been taking this survey since 1999, the criteria has been revamped to list far more serious forms of teen dating violence (TDV).

Polling 9,000 teens who've dated over the past year, the CDC says that 20.9 percent of teenage girls reported TDV, with 6.6 percent saying it was physical, eight percent claiming the violence was sexual and 6.4 percent acknowledging it was both physical and sexual.

Meanwhile, 10.4 percent of teen boys reported TDV, with the numbers about half of those for girls when it came to physical, sexual or both physical and sexual violence.

Nonetheless, the CDC researchers say "prevention efforts may be more effective if they include content for both sexes."

Certain at-risk behaviors associated with TDV include smoking, drinking, using drugs, depression, eating disorders and thoughts of suicide.

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Drinking Hot Coffee Is Cool

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- No one ever saw the Fonz with a cup of coffee in his hand but perhaps the King of Cool was missing out on something.

At least that's what a lot of New Zealanders think when 1,500 were asked by the survey company Canstar for their attitudes about drinking coffee.

Twenty percent of the respondents believe that sipping coffee makes them appear more sophisticated.

What's more, a third of millennials, those 18-to-34, say they look cooler when holding a cup of coffee.

There also appears to be a certain snobbery among a small group of coffee drinkers as 12 percent will actually judge a person by the brew they consume.

Overall, 52 percent admit that they'll go out of their way for a good cup of joe and yeah, there are Starbucks in New Zealand.

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Report: Elderly Dentist Drugged, Drooled, Pulled Wrong Teeth

iStock/Thinkstock(TULSA, Okla.) -- While drooling is sometimes expected at the dentist's office, it's usually not the dentist doing so -- though that's just what authorities say was going on with 75-year-old Dr. Gary Dean Burnidge, who is accused of repeatedly operating on patients while under the influence of drugs.

Tulsa World reports Burnidge surrendered his license in January and subsequently sold his practice. He is accused of pulling the wrong teeth, operating on the wrong side of patients' mouths, and instructing his staff to inject him with medications that at times left him slurring and drooling while on the job.

The dentist is also alleged to have over-anesthetized patients, and improperly stored controlled drugs around the office.  

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Certain British Workers Have More than Sex Education

iStock/Thinkstock(LEEDS, England) -- Turns out that many of Britain's streetwalkers have more than just street smarts.

Research by Leeds University reveals that 38 percent of people in the sex trade have at least an undergraduate degree and among that group, 17 percent have finished a level of post-grad study.

Leeds researchers qualified their findings by acknowledging that none of the 240 sex workers they polled, which included 28 men and 12 transgender people, were forced into their current profession.

Meanwhile, most working in the sex trade have done other things for money. Over seven in 10 say they worked at healthcare, education or charity jobs while a third admitted working in retail.

Yet, while the money is good, the risks are also great. Almost half of those surveyed claim to have been victims of violent crimes such as rape and robbery and 36 percent say they received threats via emails, calls or texts.

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Life After Ebola: Nurse Says She Has Nightmares, Aches, Hair Loss

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(DALLAS) -- Since surviving a harrowing brush with Ebola last October, Dallas nurse Nina Pham has been plagued with nightmares, body aches and hair loss, her lawyer told ABC News. On top of that, she says people are afraid of her because they know her as "the Ebola nurse."

Pham cared for Liberian native Thomas Eric Duncan, the first patient diagnosed with Ebola on U.S. soil, at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas last fall. Duncan died on Oct. 8, and Pham tested positive for the virus a few days later. She is now suing the hospital, alleging that she wasn't given the proper training or equipment to handle an Ebola case.

"The fact is, I'm facing a number of issues with regard to my health and my career and the lawsuit provides a way to address them," Pham said in a statement Monday. "But more importantly, it will help uncover the truth of what happened, and educate all health care providers and administrators about ways to be better prepared for the next public health emergency."

Pham's lawyer filed a petition on her behalf against the hospital Monday in Dallas, seeking an unspecified amount of damages for past and future pain, impairment, mental anguish and medical expenses, to name a few.

"She has not gone back to work yet, and she is working on recovering," Pham's lawyer Charla Aldous told ABC News, adding that she's also having problems with her liver enzymes. "I don't know if she'll ever be a nurse again."

Just prior to the diagnosis, Pham asked the hospital for her privacy and requested that her name not be used, Aldous said, but instead, the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital used her name, asked for quotes and released a video of her in the isolation room.

"Nina felt violated," Aldous said, because the hospital was using her likeness to drum up positive publicity.

Even when Pham's physician noted that she was unable to make her own medical decisions, the hospital asked for her to consent to releasing information about her condition to the public and "ambushed" her with a GoPro camera interview, the petition alleges. Although the hospital at one point announced that it upgraded Pham's condition to "good," her health was precarious at the time and health workers told Pham's mother her condition had not improved, according to the petition.

Now, Pham said she is known as "the Ebola nurse" wherever she goes.

"She has people that shy away from her, fearing that they could get sick from being around her," Aldous said.

The 26-year-old nurse battled Ebola at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital for more than a week before she was transported to the National Institutes of Health hospital in Bethesda, Maryland, for treatment on Oct. 16. She was declared virus-free on Oct. 24.

Pham has a laundry list of continuing symptoms, her lawyer said, many of which mirror post-Ebola syndrome, which can include vision loss or blindness, fatigue, aches and other symptoms, according to the World Health Organization. Pham has not reported vision loss.

Pham frequently relives her battle with Ebola in her dreams, Aldous said, but Pham is also worried about her future because she doesn't know the long-term effects of the four experimental drugs she was administered to help her fight the Ebola virus.

Nurse Amber Vinson, Pham's coworker at the hospital, also contracted Ebola and recovered. To date, she has not filed a lawsuit.

The hospital’s parent company, Texas Health Resources, released the following statement through spokesperson Wendell Watson: "Nina Pham bravely served Texas Health Dallas during a most difficult time. We continue to support and wish the best for her, and we remain optimistic that constructive dialogue can resolve this matter."

In a message sent to employees Monday night, Texas Health Resources CEO Barclay Berdan acknowledged the lawsuit, saying that THR "values our strong culture of caring and compassion." That culture, he said, is "why we have continued to support Nina both during and after her illness, and it's why she is still a member of our team."

Berdan's message also noted that the lawsuit is "distressing," but the company remains "optimistic that we can resolve this matter with Nina."

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Pain Causing Sleep Problems for Many Americans

OcusFocus/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A survey conducted by the National Sleep Foundation found that pain may be the problem keeping many Americans from getting sufficient sleep.

Respondents said that having pain was associated with feeling unhealthy and more stressed, and with problems sleeping. Included in the pain-related sleep issues was lower-quality sleep, as the actual difference in duration between those with chronic pain and those without was only about 20 to 30 minutes per night.

Even environmental factors, such as temperature, light and noise, were more problematic for those respondents with pain.

People with chronic pain, the survey showed, were more worried about their sleep, saying that it was impacting their daily life.

The study found that 21 percent of Americans suffer chronic pain, and 36 percent said they had suffered acute pain within the last week.

Sixty-five percent of those without pain reported good to very good sleep quality, compared to just 45 percent with acute pain and 37 percent with chronic pain. 

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Study: American Minors Can Easily Purchase E-Cigarettes on Internet

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A new study shows that American minors may find it dangerously easy to purchase e-cigarettes online, despite regulations preventing those under the age of 18 from purchasing such products.

According to the study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics, researchers in North Carolina had 10 minors between the ages of 14 and 17 take part, attempting to purchase electronic cigarettes online. Those 10 participants made 98 attempts to buy e-cigarettes and were rejected for being underage just five times.

In total, 75 purchases were successful. None of the 98 vendors complied with North Carolina's e-cigarette age-verification law.

The researchers called for federal laws to "require and enforce rigorous age verification for all e-cigarette sales."

The study also noted that all delivered packages came from shipping companies that, according to either company policy or federal regulation, do not ship cigarettes to consumers.

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