Former ER nurse sues hospital over small pox vaccine

By Dan Wells - bio | email

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - A former emergency room nurse is suing her old hospital saying a vaccine she got for her job made her so sick that she's now disabled.

It's been a six year fight that has cost hundreds of thousands of dollars - money one woman says she shouldn't have to pay.

Amy Alexander fights a host of medical issues stemming from dozens of lesions on her brain. Her doctors say it's her body's reaction to the smallpox vaccine.

Alexander used to be an emergency room nurse at Good Samaritan Hospital. In 2003, she took the vaccine to become a member of the smallpox bioterrorism team. But she never got the chance because her health started failing, allegedly because of the vaccine.

"I followed that with the Hepatitis B vaccine a month later and within one to two weeks, I started experiencing some weakness and some fatigue, followed by some numbness in my extremities, and then June 25 I passed out in the emergency room on my shift," said Alexander. "I was hospitalized for four days and that is the last shift that I worked.

And for the past six years, Alexander says the hospital and it's insurance companies have fought to pay costly treatments and medications her doctors have prescribed for the alleged reaction to the vaccine.

Now, after paying hundreds of thousands of dollars out of pocket, she's suing her former employer.

"Disappointed in an institution that I held in high regard," she said. "I graduated from the hospital, disappointed in healthcare itself and disappointed in people."

In this civil lawsuit, Alexander claims that Good Sam failed to report her adverse reaction to the Center for Disease Control, or any state health officials.

Good Samaritan declined to comment, but said in a statement, "The 2003 federal request for first responders to be vaccinated for smallpox was a one-time program designed as a response to the terrorist attacks of 9/11. It was recommended as a strictly voluntary* program."

"Win or lose, I'm a strong person," said Alexander. "I have family and friends. I will know that I stood up for what's right and that is what is the right thing to do."

The lawsuit filed by Alexander goes before a jury in November. The worker's compensation claim is scheduled for review in August. She is seeking $5 million in damages.

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