Medical Crisis

Texas Ebola death raises new questions and alarm: Did Thomas Eric Duncan ever have a real chance?

Texas Ebola death raises new questions and alarm, puts Dallas on edge

The first U.S. case of Ebola has ended in death. In a statement, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital confirms that Dallas Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan died early Wednesday morning

Duncan had been hospitalized since Sept. 28 and was undergoing an experimental treatment at the time of his death. Texas Health Presbyterian issued the following statement:

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 a.m. 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.

Duncan left Liberia on Sept. 19 and arrived in the United States on Sept. 20 to visit relatives. He fell ill on Sept. 24 and sought medical care at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital on Sept. 26. After developing symptoms consistent with Ebola, he was admitted to the hospital on Sept. 28.

His condition had been downgraded to critical on October 4, and he began receiving Brincidofovir, an experimental antiviral drug that had gained emergency approval from the FDA.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins released a statement, saying his thoughts were with Duncan's family and friends, "especially his fiancee Louse, her son Karsiah and all those who loved him," he said. "We are also thinking of the dedicated hospital staff who assisted Mr. Duncan daily while he fought this terrible disease."

Mayor Mike Rawlings also issued a statement, saying, "We will stop the Ebola virus in its tracks in our community."

Duncan's illness provoked some controversy, particularly regarding the clean-up of the apartment where he was staying. It took three days before an appropriately equipped hazmat crew was able to decontaminate the apartment, which had soiled sheets and clothes. Duncan's girlfriend's family will be required to remain quarantined until Oct. 19.

There were also delays in the cleanup at five Dallas ISD schools where five students had contact with Duncan. The students stopped going to school on Oct. 1 and have shown no symptoms, but two supervisors were placed on administrative leave

According to WFAA, it is uncertain whether Duncan will undergo an autopsy or where his body will go next.

Ebola virus
Ebola strain Photo courtesy of CDC