Texas Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan was allegedly sent home by hospital staff despite being aware that he had just returned from Liberia. Hospital staff members reportedly admitted that the Ebola patient was sent home due to a “flaw” in their system, allowing Duncan to return to his Dallas apartment and expose city residents to the virus for one whole week.
According to the Daily Mail, Duncan infomed nurses of his recent trip to Liberia during his first visit to the hospital, enabling hospital staff to update the medical records of the Ebola patient. However, because of a flaw in the system disabling physicians to view changes in a patient’s travel history, Duncan was sent home with antibiotics, putting hundreds of people in Dallas at risk of contracting the feared virus.
Four people who confirmed to have made contact with Thomas Eric Duncan after his hospital visit — one of them Thomas Eric Duncan’s wife, Louise Troh — has now been put under quarantine in their apartment.
Although Duncan says he informed hospital staff that he had just returned from Liberia, he denied physically touching the bodies of people infected with Ebola in the West African country, according to CNN. Duncan also denied providing care for anyone diagnosed with Ebola in Liberia.
However, witnesses claim that Duncan had actually been seen caring for victims of the deadly virus in the country. One Liberian community leader, Tugbeh Chieh Tugbeh, says Duncan had provided care for patients of the deadly virus at Paynesville City, a community outside the capital of Monrovia.
Binyah Kesselly, the board chairman of the Liberia Airport authority, says the board will “seek to prosecute” if Duncan is proven to have lied on his health screening questionnaire before leaving the country. Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf says she is currently consulting a legal team to discuss possible legal actions regarding Duncan. In an interview with Canada’s CBC Thursday, Sirleaf says Duncan’s actions, fully knowing that he might have the deadly disease, are “unpardonable.”
“The fact that he knew (he was exposed to the virus) and he left the country is unpardonable, quite frankly. I just hope that nobody else gets infected. With the U.S. doing so much to help us fight Ebola, and again one of our compatriots didn’t take due care, and so, he’s gone there and… put some Americans in a state of fear, and put them at some risk, and so I feel very saddened by that and very angry with him, to tell you the truth.”
As of September, more than 3,000 people have died in West Africa due to the Ebola.
[Image from European Commission DG ECHO/Flickr]