Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan was treated professionally and compassionately without regard for his nationality or ability to pay, the hospital that treated him said Thursday, one day after he died.
Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas was responding to complaints from those close to the victim that Duncan, the first person diagnosed with Ebola on U.S. soil, was not treated as well as three white American missionaries who contracted the deadly virus in West Africa but recovered after treatment in Atlanta and Omaha.
Duncan, who was Liberian, arrived in Dallas on Sept. 20 and sought help in the hospital emergency room the night of Sept. 25, complaining of a headache and a fever that was just over 100 degrees. He was sent home with a prescription for antibiotics but was not diagnosed as a possible Ebola patient, even though he told the healthcare team that he had been in West Africa, where more than 3,800 people are suspected to have died from Ebola.
Three days later, Duncan was rushed back to the hospital by ambulance and placed in isolation until he died.
“We’d like to correct some misconceptions that have been reported about Mr. Duncan’s first visit,” the hospital said in an emailed statement. “Our care team provided Mr. Duncan with the same high level of attention and care that would be given any patient, regardless of nationality or ability to pay for care. In this case, that included a four-hour evaluation and numerous tests. We have a long history of treating a multicultural community in this area.”
The hospital said that Duncan’s physicians treated him with “the most appropriate and available medical interventions, including the investigative antiviral drug brincidofovir. … Mr. Duncan was the first Ebola patient to receive this drug,” the hospital said.
Two of the missionaries received the experimental drug ZMapp, but its limited supply has been exhausted, and making more takes months.
“The drug ZMapp was not administered to Mr. Duncan because it was not available,” the hospital said. “According to the CDC and the drug manufacturer, it has not been available since Aug. 12.”
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SOURCE: MOLLY HENNESSY-FISKEMICHAEL MUSKAL
The Los Angeles Times