First U.S. Ebola Patient Thomas Eric Duncan Tragically Dies in Dallas Hospital

emergency roomSad news about one patient we've been worried about: Thomas Eric Duncan, the man being treated for the Ebola virus in Dallas, died earlier this morning, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital said in a statement.

Duncan, 42, the first patient in the U.S. stricken with the deadly disease, had been receiving the experimental drug brincidofovir since Saturday. The hospital says he had been on a ventilator and undergoing kidney dialysis. The last time Duncan's family saw him was on Monday, via a closed circuit camera.


Duncan died just before 8 a.m. Wednesday. Said the 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.

Texas Health Presbyterian failed to diagnose Duncan with Ebola when he was first admitted to the emergency room on September 25. They sent him home, even though doctors had access to travel history indicating he had just been in Liberia. Three days later, Duncan returned by ambulance with worse symptoms. The people he came in contact with during those three days are being closely monitored. 

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The Liberia native and dad came to Dallas in late September to attend his son Karsia Duncan's high school graduation. He had been planning to marry his son's mother and apply for permanent status in the U.S.

What's particularly tragic about this is that he was so young, and if doctors had been able to determine what was wrong with him earlier, maybe something more could have been done to save his life. Massachusetts doctor Rick Sacra survived Ebola, after contracting it while treating patients in Liberia. But it is such a terrible disease that perhaps nothing could have changed Duncan's fate. Our hearts go out to his family. 


Image © Alan Schein/Corbis

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