Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, died Wednesday morning, the Dallas hospital where he was being treated said.
Duncan, 42, was given the experimental Ebola drug brincidofovir, but his family said he was doing poorly and the hospital had downgraded his condition from serious to critical. When the family visited Tuesday with the Rev. Jesse Jackson, they declined to view Duncan via video link because the last time had been too upsetting.
"What we saw was very painful. It didn't look good," said Duncan's nephew Josephus Weeks.
Dr. Kent Brantly, who donated plasma to an NBC News freelancer being treated for Ebola in Nebraska, was contacted by the hospital and said he would be willing to donate blood if Duncan were a match. He never heard back from the hospital and assumes his blood type was not a match, according to Samaritan's Purse.
Duncan may have contracted the virus in Liberia while taking a dying neighbor to the hospital in a taxi. He left Monrovia on a Sept. 19 flight and arrived in the U.S. the next day. He started showing symptoms Sept. 24 and went to a Dallas hospital for treatment Sept. 26. He was sent home, only to be brought back by ambulance on Sept. 28 and diagnosed with the deadly virus.
"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," Texas Health Resources spokesman Wendell Watson said in a statement. "We have offered the family our support and condolences at this difficult time."
Weeks and other family members have complained about the delay in care. Doctors have said that early, supportive care with IV fluids has been critical to improving the survival rate.
"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," Duncan's girlfriend Louise Troh said in a statement.
"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."
Dr. David Lakey of the Texas Department of State Health Services called the past week "an enormous test of our health system" and offered condolences to the family. "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.”
— Lisa Tolin