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Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Thomas Eric Duncan was young he was a Christian he even had an American sounding name

Grief is widespread throughout the Texas Presbyterian Hospital community and in Dallas, after the caregivers tried and failed to save the life of Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan. 

This is very sad. Mr. Duncan's death at 42 years old is a sentinel event in the history of Texas Presbyterian Hospital and another mark in the Dallas history timeline, as though anyone needs reminding of November 22, 1963.

It's difficult to understand why Mr. Duncan didn't respond to state of the art life support interventions to help him withstand the Ebola virus and recover from the illness. Undoubtedly, his inability to rally, given the intense intervention he eventually received, is a dangerous indication of just how ravaged his body was by the Ebola virus, by the time he was diagnosed. 

Certainly, given how infectious he was at the time of his diagnosis, there's a high risk of others being infected as a result of the lapse of time between the onset of his Ebola symptoms and when he was placed in quarantine for treatment.

Mr. Duncan was the first patient with Ebola to die in the US, but he became infected in Liberia. Yet, he broke the stereotype of the African who becomes ill with Ebola. He had a very American name ie, "Duncan", and he was obviously a Christian, evidenced by the family's Baptist Church pastor, who counseled the grieving relatives after providing notification of his death.  

In my opinion, Mr. Duncan's death by Ebola as well as the other Americans who are recovering from it after being flown home, breaks the stereotype of what many Americans believe are victims of this virus. 

First of all, four other Americans who had (one still has) Ebola are Caucasians. 

Mr. Duncan was certainly a young, handsome African man who worked for FedEx, or some international mail delivery company. He didn't appear to live in a primitive village and he dressed well. So, now we have evidence of how Ebola is a toxic and highly contagious disease. Everyone, regardless of race or socio economic status, who comes in contact with its victims are at great risk for becoming ill with the virus.

I'm grieving for Mr. Duncan's family and for all of the caregivers who valiantly tried in vain to save his life. 

Although Texas Presbyterian made an error when Mr. Duncan's treatment was delayed by administrative, or some other kind of glitch, the fact is, many people worked hard to cure him from the Ebola virus, and they are grieving because of his death.  

Now, Ebola is an American disease. It's urgent that Texas and all public health personnel continue to be on high alert to prevent any spread of this virus.

In Texas, this means anyone presenting in any emergency department with a fever, regardless of the origin, should receive immediate care - regardless of what their reimbursement or immigrant status may be. Therefore, Governor Perry, it seems like the right public health initiative, to reduce the Ebola panic now rampant in Dallas, is to be sure all Texans and immigrants are provided access to urgent care, regardless of their ability to pay.

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