AZ — — A lawsuit filed by the Arizona Health Care Workers’ Union (AHCWU) alleges that doctors at a hospital where a patient died of Ebola have been retaliating against them for their refusal to let him or her die.
The union, which represents about 3,000 health care employees in the state, has been fighting for an independent investigation into the death of Andrew White, who contracted the virus in November 2015 at the University of Arizona Hospital in Tucson.
White, 39, contracted Ebola while in isolation at the hospital.
The lawsuit alleges that his death was the result of retaliation against AHCWUs who refused to let the man die and instead encouraged him to seek medical treatment.
White died on April 11, after a three-day hospitalization and treatment.
The suit also alleges that AHCWs have retaliated against the union members who spoke out against their treatment of White.
The complaint says that the union has been the target of a “campaign of malicious retaliation” by AHC’s board of directors and that the AHC health care professionals have engaged in “unlawful, unlawful, and malicious acts” in retaliation against them.
The AHC board of trustees has not yet responded to the complaint.
In November 2015, White contracted Ebola in a hospital room where he had been confined.
He died three days later.
White’s death has led to widespread speculation about the motivations of the health care staff at the Tucson hospital.
He had been working as a doctor in the emergency room at the time.
The health care worker was a nurse and a physician who worked in the same unit.
The hospital was closed for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic, which was spread primarily through direct contact with healthcare workers.
AHC workers say they were pressured to let White die because of their union.
AHCs Board of Directors, according to the lawsuit, has failed to investigate the incident, the deaths of AHC staff and the AHCs failure to follow protocols for caring for White in isolation.
AHCA employees say they are seeking to obtain evidence to support their claims.
The state Department of Health and Human Services has yet to comment on the lawsuit.
AHCWU Executive Director David Bittner told CBS News, “The AHC Board of Trustees has been hostile to the AHCA workers who were whistleblowers and put the safety and health of our patients first.
We have received numerous threats against our members and the union.”
The AHCA board has yet do respond to the claims.