U.S. patient who died from Ebola settles with Dallas hospital
The family of Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person to die of Ebola in the U.S., has reached a settlement with the hospital that treated him and admitting to making mistakes in addressing his care.
Les Weisbrod, who is representing Duncan’s family, told reporters the hospital “wanted to do the right thing.”
Details of the deal were not released and the family will not be billed for his care, he said.
A suit against the Dallas hospital faced long odds due to the state’s regulations on malpractice suits that have made it one of the hardest places in the United States to sue over medical errors, especially those that occur in the emergency room, according to plaintiffs’ lawyers and legal experts.
Duncan, a Liberian national who recently arrived in the United States, first sought treatment at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in late September, telling staff he had come from Africa.
It was later discovered that he had been in Liberia, one of three West African countries hit hardest by the Ebola outbreak.
Two days after he was discharged, Duncan had to be carted back to the same hospital by ambulance, and became the first person in the United States to be diagnosed with the virus. He was placed in an isolation unit and died 10 days after being admitted, with teams of medical staff tending to his care.
Two nurses, Nina Phan and Amber Vinson, both contracted Ebola from Duncan after treating him. They have since recovered.
The hospital apologized to Duncan’s family for initially discharging him, and said they made a mistake in not saving his life.
The Ebola outbreak has killed more than 4,900 people so far this year, most of them in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
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