The first person to die of Ebola in the U.S., Thomas Eric Duncan, was sent home from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital with a fever of 103 degrees before he was admitted for treatment two days later, a spokeswoman for the victim's family said Friday. "If you went to hospital right now and your temperature was 103 degrees, no one would send you home," said Saymendy Lloyd, spokesperson for Louise Troh, Duncan's fiancée.
Medical records provided by Duncan's family to The Associated Press show that Texas Health Presbyterian noted that Duncan's temperature was 103 degrees when he first came to the hospital on Sept. 26, and that he had recently traveled to the U.S. from Africa. Duncan was sent home, but two days later he returned to the hospital where he was diagnosed with Ebola on Sept. 28. Duncan died on Wednesday.
Duncan's family has accused Texas Health Presbyterian of failing to provide "appropriate care," and Lloyd said many in the community feel Duncan was not admitted immediately as a result of a "racial issue." Troh’s pastor, George Mason, said the victim’s fiancée believes she would have been treated if she had gone to the hospital with such a high fever because she is American, but she “does not want to create racial polarization.”
Lloyd said the family might pursue legal action “later on,” but Mason said Troh is not interested in financial retribution. "The man is dead. That can't bring him back," Mason said. Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital is evaluating the "chain of events" related to Duncan's care, according to a statement released by the hospital Friday. "We have made changes to our intake process as well as other procedures to better screen for all critical indicators of Ebola virus," the statement said.
— Elisha Fieldstadt