Texas Health Resources releases statement defending Ebola patient's treatment

In the face of several criticisms regarding their treatment of Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan, Texas Health Resources has released a statement defending their actions.

Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas cared for Mr. Duncan, the first patient diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S., from Sept. 28 until his death Wednesday. However, questions have risen regarding his course of treatment.

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Mr. Duncan was originally sent home after going to the hospital's emergency department on Sept. 25, five days after he arrived in Dallas from Liberia. Mr. Duncan allegedly told nurses he had traveled from Liberia, but he was not tested for Ebola during that visit and was released, only to return to the hospital by ambulance a few days later.

Additionally, some have questioned the delay in Mr. Duncan receiving an experimental drug. While other Ebola patients in the U.S. received the ZMapp drug immediately — all with positive outcomes — Mr. Duncan received the experimental drug brincidofovir six days after being admitted to the hospital. In a statement, the hospital said, "Mr. Duncan's physicians treated him with the most appropriate and available medical interventions, including the investigative antiviral drug Brincidofovir. After consulting with experts across the country, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the investigative drug was administered as soon as his physicians determined that his condition warranted it, and as soon as it could be obtained. Mr. Duncan was the first Ebola patient to receive this drug."

Additionally, the ZMapp drug supply ran out in August.

In a similar sense, there were questions as to why Mr. Duncan did not receive blood transfusions from recovered Ebola patients as others had received, to which the hospital stated they were unable to find a match among potential blood donors.

Political and social questions also came into play. Members of the Liberia Community Association in Dallas voiced concerns that Mr. Duncan was treated differently "because he was African and not only that, he was Liberian," according to an ABC news report.

Mr. Duncan's heart stopped while he was in treatment Wednesday, and the hospital statement reports that Mr. Duncan said he did not want his care team to perform chest compressions, defibrillation or cardioversion to prolong his life.

The hospital statement concludes, "We'd like to correct some misconceptions that have been reported about Mr. Duncan's first visit. 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 nurses, doctors and team who cared or him, as well as the entire Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas community, grieve the loss of Mr. Duncan."

More articles on Ebola:

Ebola economic impact could reach $32.6B, World Bank says
Ebola panic sparks nationwide discussion about outbreak capacity
Texas Health Presbyterian official: Ebola misdiagnosis under review

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