‘Why did my uncle die of Ebola while every other patient treated in America has survived?’ Now relatives say Dallas virus victim Eric Thomas Duncan received ‘unfair’ treatment!!
- Thomas Eric Duncan died at 7:51am on Wednesday after receiving no potentially lifesaving blood transfusion or ZMapp
- He was sent home when he first arrived at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital with symptoms of the disease
- Five other Ebola patients treated in the US are either cured or in the process of being treated at specially designed hospital wards
- Doctors began giving Duncan an experimental antiviral drug on Monday, but it was too late
- Dr Kent Brantley and Nancy Writebol received the ZMapp ‘miracle drug,’ though officials say it has since run out
- Dr Rick Sacra and NBC cameraman Ashoka Mukpo have received transfusions of Dr Brantley’s blood
- Duncan exposed 48 people to the disease before he was hospitalized, including his fiancée and two of her children
The family of Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan are venting their outrage that the late Liberian may not have received the same quality of care leading up to his death Wednesday morning as the other patients treated in the U.S. for the dreaded virus. ‘No one has died of Ebola in the U.S. before. This is the first time,’ Duncan’s furious nephew Joe Weeks told ABC. Weeks and others in Duncan’s family are calling his treatment ‘unfair,’ after seeing other patients pulled from the brink of death in government-funded evacuation planes and using life-saving blood transfusions and cutting edge drugs. Five US citizens have been diagnosed with Ebola and three of them have beaten it. NBC News cameraman Ashoka Mukpo, the latest American victim, arrived at the infectious disease ward at the University of Nebraska Medical Center this week for treatment. A fourth victim, a World Health Organization doctor, is being treated in Atlanta.
All five have been flown to specially designed infectious disease wards in Nebraska or Atlanta for treatment by some of the world’s top doctors. The anger from Duncan’s family also stems from what happened before Duncan was seen by doctors but after he fell ill – when the Liberian was initially turned sent home by Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital – the same hospital that later admitted him. ‘What if they had taken him right away? And what if they had been able to get treatment to him earlier,’ said Dallas pastor George Mason, a confidante of the family’s, according to a CNN report. While Mason told reporters that Duncan’s fiance Louise Troh ‘is not seeking to create any kinds of divisions in our community,’ she has called for a full review of his medical care. And none other than the Reverend Jesse Jackson appeared in public with Duncan’s mother, raising the specter of legal action against the hospital as he contemned Duncan’s treatment. ‘He got sick and went to the hospital and was turned away, and that’s the turning point here,’ the Rev Jackson, a spokesman for the family, told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. The family seem to be suggesting that further turning points would follow once Duncan finally received treatment. When Duncan first went to Texas Presbyterian on September 25, he was sent home with a prescription for antibiotics and was never tested for Ebola, despite telling nurses that he had come from Ebola-stricken Liberia. Unlike Ebola victims Dr Rick Sacra and NBC cameraman Ashoka Mukpo, Duncan did not receive a transfusion of blood from American Ebola survivor Dr Kent Brantly after he was finally diagnosed. Weeks says doctors told the family ‘that the blood wasn’t a match.’
And unlike Brantly and his fellow missionary Nancy Writebol, Duncan did not receive the ‘miracle’ experimental drug ZMapp, which officials say has completely run out in the United States. Instead, on Monday doctors began giving Duncan the experimental antiviral drug brincidovir. The newly approved drug – which was developed not for Ebola but for smallpox and herpes virus came too late. Duncan only began receiving doses after his health took a turn for the worse and he became critically ill. Thomas Eric Duncan succumbed to the virus at 7.51am today at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital. Ms Troh released a statement about Duncan saying: ‘His suffering is over. My family is in deep sadness and grief, but we leave him in the hands of God… Eric was a wonderful man who showed compassion toward all.’
FIRST EBOLA DEATH IN AMERICA: WAS THE TREATMENT THOMAS DUNCAN RECEIVED INFERIOR TO THE AMERICAN-BORN VICTIMS?
Thomas Duncan was the first person to bring Ebola to the United States from West Africa accidentally, but he’s one of six victims who’ve thus far entered the country. And as his family and loved ones have pointed out, he’s the first of the six to die. As his grieving family weighs a potential lawsuit, here is a recap of Duncan’s fellow Ebola victims, the treatment they’ve received and how they’ve fared.
Dr. Kent Brantly was treating Ebola victims in Liberia when he came down with the dreaded symptoms before being flown via jet to Atlanta’s Emory University hospital in early August Treatment: Brantly, 33, first received a blood transfusion from a boy who survived the virus on his own before receiving the drug ZMapp. He’s since made a full recovery Nancy Writebol worked alongside Dr. Brantly before she was diagnosed and flown to Atlanta Treatment: Writebol, 59, was likely the first to receive ZMapp after reports arose that Brantly heroically gave up a first precious dose so that she could have it. She’s since fully recovered Dr. Rick Sacra: Sacra, 51, also became infected with Ebola in Liberia and was flown to a Nebraska hospital for treatment Treatment: Sacra was given two transfusions of Dr. Brantly’s blood and a different experimental drug called TKM-Ebola. He has fully recovered and been released Ashoka Mukpo was a freelance NBC News cameraman in Liberia when he managed to catch Ebola before being flown to Nebraska for treatment. Treatment: Mukpo has received both a blood transfusion from Dr. Brantly and a the experimental drug brincidofovir. Doctors are hopeful the 33-year-old will recover An unidentified American World Health Organization doctor with Ebola was flown to Atlanta for treatment from Sierra Leone on September 9 Treatment: HIPAA privacy restrictions have repeatedly been cited as the reason so little is known about this patient, including his or her health status and the treatments used
She added: ‘I trust a thorough examination will take place regarding all aspects of his care. I am now dealing with the sorrow and anger that his son was not able to see him before he died. This will take some time, but in the end, I believe in a merciful God.’ Troh is currently in quarantine with her 13-year-old son and two nephews and under constant monitoring by health officials over fears that they, too, could develop symptoms during a 21-day incubation period. Duncan, a 42-year-old Liberian national exposed nearly 50 people to the disease in America before he was put in isolation at Texas Presbyterian. Speaking to MailOnline on Wednesday, Rev Jackson claimed that the treatment Duncan received contributed to his sad end. He questioned whether there was really no more ZMapp left and why Duncan has received a drug that had never been tested on Ebola patients before, instead. ‘All I do know is that Mr Duncan received late treatment and not the best drug. They say that there is no more ZMapp. It’s hard for me to believe that there’s only enough ZMapp to treat two people in all of America.
‘All of his vital signs were improving yesterday, except for the kidney and the lung area. They tried an experimental drug other than Zmapp which has been used to treat others and it didn’t work.’ He said that there were ‘many questions’ to be asked regarding the protocol followed, and not followed, by medics at Dallas’s Texas Presbyterian Hospital. The reverend said, ‘He came to the hospital. He said he had come from Liberia, West Africa but they did not check for Ebola which his protocol. He came to the hospital and they sent him away with antibiotics, deathly ill.’ Rev Jackson’s echoed the ’sorrow and anger’ expressed by Ms Trowh and raised the specter of legal action ahead, though he pointed out, ‘That’s for the family not for me to decide.’ For now, he said, ‘We’re just grieving. It’s all so shocking. We really are in shock right now and grieving.’ Rev Jackson spent yesterday in Dallas with Mr Duncan’s mother, Nowah Gartay, who had travelled from her home in Charlotte, North Carolina to visit the son she had not seen for 12 years, Duncan’s nephew Josephus Weeks and 19-year-old son, Karsiah . At a vigil outside the hospital in which Mr Duncan lay in his isolated deathbed, Rev Jackson led prayers and called upon others to ’save Thomas Eric Duncan’s life.’ Karsiah had not seen his father since the age of three when his mother Ms Troh left Liberia for America after a falling out with Mr Duncan. The two reconnected over phone earlier this year and Mr Duncan described her as the ‘love of his life.’
CONDOLENCES FOR THE FAMILY: STATEMENTS ON THE DEATH OF MICHAEL ERIC DUNCAN
Louise Troh, Duncan’s fiancée
‘This morning we received word that Eric passed away. His suffering is over. My family is in deep sadness and grief, but we leave him in the hands of God. Our deepest sympathies go out to his father and family in Liberia and here in America. Eric was a wonderful man who showed compassion toward all. ‘I want to thank the Dallas Community, the church and the Liberian community; and, in particular, County Judge Jenkins; Mayor Rawlings; my pastor, George Mason; Saymendy Lloyd; Stanley Gay; and Alben Bush for all the love and support they have shown me and my family during this ordeal. Without their help, I can’t imagine how we could have endured. ‘I trust a thorough examination will take place regarding all aspects of his care. I am now dealing with the sorrow and anger that his son was not able to see him before he died. This will take some time, but in the end, I believe in a merciful God. ‘I hope that you will keep my family in your prayers. This has dramatically changed our lives, and we will be grieving for a long time. May Eric rest in peace.’
Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital
‘It is with profound sadness and heartfelt disappointment that we must inform you of the death of Thomas Eric Duncan this morning at 7:51 am. Mr. Duncan succumbed to an insidious disease, Ebola. ‘He fought courageously in this battle. Our professionals, the doctors and nurses in the unit, as well as the entire Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas community, are also grieving his passing. We have offered the family our support and condolences at this difficult time.’ Dr David Lakey, Commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services ‘The past week has been an enormous test of our health system, but for one family it has been far more personal. Today they lost a dear member of their family. ‘They have our sincere condolences, and we are keeping them in our thoughts. The doctors, nurses and staff at Presbyterian provided excellent and compassionate care, but Ebola is a disease that attacks the body in many ways. We’ll continue every effort to contain the spread of the virus and protect people from this threat.’
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins
My thoughts are with the family and friends of Thomas Eric Duncan at this time, especially his fiancée Louise, their son Karsiah and all those who loved him. ‘We are also thinking of the dedicated hospital staff who assisted Mr. Duncan daily while he fought this terrible disease. We offer prayers of comfort and peace to everyone impacted by his passing.’
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings
‘We are deeply saddened to learn that Mr Thomas Duncan has passed away. We appreciate the dedicated service of the emergency and medical personnel who worked diligently to care for him. On behalf of the city of Dallas, I extend our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Mr. Duncan. ‘I remain confident in the abilities of our health care professionals and the medical advances here in the U.S. and reassure you we will stop the Ebola virus in its tracts from spreading into our community. ‘I want to reinforce to the public, that this was an isolated incident of the Ebola virus; contracted by the individual while residing in another country. This is sad news for all involved. We will continue to work in partnership with Dallas County to do everything possible to protect our public health and all of the City of Dallas.’ Duncan’s Ebola case drew widespread American attention to the West African epidemic that continues to spread like wildfire through Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea – three of the poorest nations in the world. More than 3,400 people have died from the virus and more than 7,500 have been infected. Duncan landed in Dallas on September 20 after traveling from his home in Monrovia, Liberia. He is accused of lying to airport screeners about his contact with Ebola patients, though his family and friends say he had no idea he had been infected. He came to America in the hopes of marrying Ms Troh after rekindling his relationship with her after more than a decade apart. He was also hoping to meet his 19-year-old son Karsiah, a college student in Texas whom he had not seen since the boy was three. The father and son were never reunited before Duncan’s death. Duncan developed symptoms of the disease on September 24. He went to the hospital the next day – only to be given antibiotics and sent home by doctors. For three more days, he suffered with Ebola in Ms Troh’s Dallas apartment, potentially exposing her and her family to the disease. On September 28, four days later after he became contagious, he was rushed back to Texas Presbyterian and admitted. His family said on Tuesday that he was medically sedated and unresponsive when they tried to visit him at the hospital.
President Barack Obama is seen here receiving an update about the Ebola outbreak in the United States
One of Ms Troh’s pastors sought to explain her statement that she was hoping for a review of Duncan’s medical care. Mark Wingfield, associate pastor of Dallas’s Wilshire Baptist Church, said: ‘Louise is of course devastated by this news. She is very saddened by it and as is the case with anyone dealing with grief you have lots of questions about how your life and circumstances could have spun so quickly into a reality you could never have envisioned.’ Speaking as a pastor who deals with people in grief a lot, a very natural part of the grief process is to question, What if? What could I have done differently? What if this had happened or that had happened? How could I have prevented this from happening? ‘And she’s absolutely at that stage of running through events.’ He also a said Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, who has overseen the Ebola outbreak and visited Ms Troh several times, told her that: ‘He’s had to tear off the rear view mirror and not look back. ‘He can’t spend time looking behind right now. He’s got to deal with the next 15 minutes.’ But, he continued, ‘When you’re in quarantine and grieving the situation all you have to do is look in the rear view mirror and think of what has gone out and how could I have made this play out differently?’ Asked if Ms Troh felt anger over the treatment Mr Duncan received and whether she questioned the hospital’s choices, he admitted, ‘I think there is an undertone in all of that.’ Pastor Wingfield said that the church was working on how to address that additional heartbreak. He said, ‘I suspect there will be multiple memorials but we don’t know that for sure yet.’
Following Duncan’s death, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital issued a statement that read: ‘It is with profound sadness and heartfelt disappointment that we must inform you of the death of Thomas Eric Duncan this morning at 7.51am. Mr. Duncan succumbed to an insidious disease, Ebola. ‘He fought courageously in this battle. Our professionals, the doctors and nurses in the unit, as well as the entire Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas community, are also grieving his passing. We have offered the family our support and condolences at this difficult time.’ Texas health officials must now dispose of Duncan’s body, which still harbors the disease. Ebola spreads by having contact with the bodily fluids of an infected patient. Even getting sweat or blood on the skin can cause an infection. Guidance that the Centers for Disease Control issued to hospitals on the disposal of dead Ebola patients calls for Duncan’s body to be immediately wrapped in a plastic shroud and zipped up in two leak-proof body bags – with his medical lines and tubes still attached. His remains will then be shipped to the Dallas County morgue, where his body will be cremated, killing all trace of the virus. His remains will then be returned to his family. Officials recommend no autopsy or embalming, for fear that unnecessary contact with the remains could spread the infection. Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings issued a statement saying he was ‘deeply saddened’ to learn of Duncan’s death.
Cleanup crew: Professional cleaners were called in to sanitize the Dallas apartment where Thomas Eric Duncan stayed before being admitted to the hospital. His soiled sheets and towels remained in the apartment for five days after he was hospitalized
‘On behalf of the city of Dallas, I extend our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Mr. Duncan. I remain confident in the abilities of our health care professionals and the medical advances here in the U.S. and reassure you we will stop the Ebola virus in its tracts from spreading into our community. I would have preferred to stay in Liberia and died than bring this disease to you.
‘I want to reinforce to the public, that this was an isolated incident of the Ebola virus; contracted by the individual while residing in another country. This is sad news for all involved. We will continue to work in partnership with Dallas County to do everything possible to protect our public health and all of the City of Dallas.’ Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, who has helped coordinate the local response to the disease outbreak offered his condolences, saying: ‘My thoughts are with the family and friends of Thomas Eric Duncan at this time, especially his fiancée Louise, their son Karsiah and all those who loved him.’ Thomas Eric Duncan apologized to his fiancée after doctors told him he had the deadly disease and told her he would have rather died in Liberia than put her at risk, a family friend has said. ‘He apologized to Louise the day they told him what he had. He told her, “I’m so sorry all of this is happening. I would not put the love of my life in danger,'” Saymendy Lloyd told the Washington Post. Duncan’s family are now saying that he had no idea he had been exposed to Ebola when he boarded a plane in Liberia, bound for the United States. It has been previously reported that Duncan helped care for a pregnant woman who later died of the disease in Monrovia, Liberia. However, he ha told those close to him that he thought she was suffering complications from the pregnancy and had no idea she was infected with Ebola.
STILL A DANGER: HOW THE CDC RECOMMENDS THOMAS ERIC DUNCAN’S INFECTED BODY BE HANDLED
Thomas Eric Duncan is still a danger of spreading Ebola, even after his death. The insidious disease remains in the blood and bodily fluids long after the virus has killed its victim. In August, the Centers from Disease Control issued guidelines for disposing of the remains of Ebola patients in the U.S. that give insight into how Duncan’s body will likely be handled. The CDC recommends that Duncan be wrapped in a plastic shroud then zipped up in two leak-proof body bags with and tubes and IV lines still in his body. Only technicians who are trained in infectious disease containment should work with the body and the room should be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized. The body should quickly be transported to a morgue and handled only by people who are wearing head-to-toe protective garments. Even a small amount of infected blood or other bodily fluids coming into contact with the skin can spread Ebola. Once in the morgue, the CDC recommends that Ebola victims should not undergo an autopsy or be embalmed. The Dallas County medical examiner announced that his body would be cremated, killing all traces of the virus. Duncan told Louise Troh, whom he came to the United States to marry, that he ‘would have preferred to stay in Liberia and died than bring this disease to you,’ Mr Lloyd told the Post. Liberia authorities have accused Duncan of lying on an airport screening form before flying out of Monrovia last month and claiming he had no contact with Ebola victims. The Dallas County prosecutor also announced this week Duncan could face criminal charges if he knew he had Ebola and exposed people to the disease anyway. Ten people, including seven healthcare workers and three family members, are considered at high risk for Ebola after they were exposed to Duncan after he became contagious. Another 38 more are being monitors by the CDC for possible risk of the disease. Duncan’s fiancee Louise Troh, who is perhaps highest at risk of catching the disease after she cared for him at her Dallas apartment while he sweated and vomited through the early staged of the disease, says she does not blame him for possibly exposing her. She told WFAA-TV on Tuesday, before Duncan’s death, that she just wanted him to get better so that he can return to her. The couple, who met in a refugee camp in the Ivory Coast, have a 19-year-old son Karsiah together who is currently in college. ‘I’m just praying to God that he gets better. He’s a generous guy, and I’m just so sad. He just come to America and just get so sick, and just went down just in a second,’ she told the TV station. ‘I feel so sad. I’m confused, and really disturbed. I don’t know. I’m just praying to God so he can wake up and for him to be able to see his children and be able to come back to his family.’ Karsiah Duncan, a student at Angelo State University, arrived in Dallas to visit his father for the first time on Tuesday, but by then Duncan was unresponsive.