Thomas Duncan The Ebola patient in Dallas has died
|Thomas Duncan The Ebola patient in Dallas has died|
"He fought courageously in this battle," said Wendell Watson, a hospital spokesman. "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."
The 42-year-old Duncan, who arrived in Dallas on Sept. 20, was admitted to Texas Health Presbyterian on Sept. 28 on his second visit to the facility for treatment. He was initially given antibiotics and sent home when hospital staff failed to connect his symptoms to his recent travel to Liberia, where an outbreak of Ebola is raging.
After returning to the hospital, suffering from vomiting and severe diarrhea, Duncan was quickly admitted and placed in isolation. Two days later, the hospital confirmed he was infected with the deadly virus.
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Duncan, whose condition steadily deteriorated from the time he was hospitalized, had been heavily medicated, on dialysis and in a semi-comatose state, said Saymendy Lloyd, a Washington-based Liberian activist who h
as been acting as a spokeswoman for the family.
|Texas Health Presbyterian|
The four people living in the Dallas apartment where Duncan got sick were moved to a private residence in a gated community, and a hazardous-materials crew decontaminated their apartment, city officials said.
The treatment of the family drew criticism when they were quarantined in the apartment with Duncan's contaminated belongings for days before a hazardous materials crew arrived to bag up and sanitize the materials.
Duncan's son, Eric Duncan, 19, had flown to Dallas Monday to see his father via a Skype like closed circuit video conference, said Lloyd. The video conference was supposed to take place Wednesday, she said.
Nurses had planned to prop a laptop near Duncan's face, so his son could see and speak to him, Lloyd said.
During a few lucid moments recently, Duncan had told a nurse he was excited about the visit by the son he had not seen since he was 3 years old, when he left Liberia with his mother to escape civil war.
"'I'm so proud of him, I can't wait to see him,'" Duncan told the nurse, according to Lloyd.
Eric Duncan is attending university, where he's on the football team, but Lloyd said the family is withholding the name of the university to protect the son's privacy.
Ebola has killed more than 3,430 people in Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Senegal and Nigeria, the World Health Organization says. The outbreaks in Nigeria and Senegal — which took swift, decisive action to control the virus — are likely over.
There are no proven treatments or vaccines for Ebola, but several Ebola patients treated in the USA and elsewhere have received experimental, unproven drugs for compassionate use.
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The two-day delay at the Dallas hospital before doctors realized he had Ebola likely contributed to his deterioration. Such delays can be deadly with infectious diseases, Murphy said.
"The quicker we can get patients into care, the better their odds for survival. He may have been too far gone for even our best supportive care," said Amesh Adalja, infectious disease specialist at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
Three Americans treated for Ebola – Kent Brantly, Nancy Writebol and Richard Sacra – were evacuated from Liberia to top-flight American hospitals with specialized bio containment units developed to treat Ebola and other dangerous diseases. All three survived.
"We've gotten lucky with the airlifted cases that they were able to get good supportive care," Adalja said.
But doctors may have had a more difficult time with Duncan. "We don't know his past medical history," such as whether he had any serious chronic diseases in addition to Ebola, Adalja said.
Duncan contracted the disease just before leaving Liberia in mid-September when he helped helped carry Marthalene Williams, 19, who was later diagnosed with Ebola, into a taxi to go to the hospital after her family was unable to get an ambulance.
Williams, who was seven months pregnant, was turned away at the hospital because of lack of space in the Ebola ward. She returned home that evening, hours before she died.
At the airport Liberia when he was departing, Duncan signed a form saying that he had not had contact with any person infected by the virus.
It is not clear whether Duncan knew of Williams' diagnosis, which initially appeared to be pregnancy related, at the time he left the country. Officials in Liberia said Duncan showed no symptoms when he boarded the plane and he was therefore not contagious.
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Ebola can only be spread through the bodily fluids of people showing signs of the disease.
Unlike an infection such as tuberculosis, which primarily attacks the lung, Ebola affects many organs of the body at once, said Adalja.
Massive diarrhea and vomiting can cause dehydration and disrupt the normal balance of electrolytes, such as potassium, causing heart rhythm problems, he said. The virus can cause bleeding by making tiny holes in blood vessels and by harming platelets, a type of blood cell that normally helps the blood to clot.
|Thomas Duncan Car|
As the first case of a person diagnosed with the disease in the United States, Duncan's hospitalization drew national attention to the deadly disease and efforts to keep it from spreading.
After Duncan's condition was diagnosed, city and state health officials moved quickly to track down as many as 80 to 100 people with whom he had contact in Dallas before he was hospitalized.
The case also drew attention to the screening procedures for travelers from West Africa entering the United States, prompting a tightening of regulations.