Texas Ebola Patient, Thomas Eric Duncan, Dies. Who Was He?

by
Monica Uriarte
Duncan was more than just a man with Ebola. He a man from Liberia, a father and was soon to be a husband.

Thomas Eric Duncan, 42, the first man to be diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, died earlier this morning in Dallas, Texas at the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital.

“It is with profound sadness and heartfelt disappointment that we must inform you of the death that Thomas Eric Duncan, this morning at 7:51am (Dallas time), 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.” This statement was made by the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital.

Duncan was more than just a man with Ebola. He a man from Liberia, a father and was soon to be a husband. Duncan left Liberia on Sept.20 to marry his son’s mother Louise Troh, and reunite with his son Karsiah Duncan, whom he had been separated from for the past 16 years, The New York Times reported.

He arrived to the U.S. on Sept. 20 and began showing symptoms of the virus on Sept. 25. He was then hospitalized and in critical condition.

Many are wondering why Duncan was allowed to come into the U.S. since he was exposed to the virus. As it turns out Duncan was screened before he boarded the plane. His temperature was taken as the Airport, which was 97.3 degrees Fahrenheit, and he filled out a survey that asked if he had been exposed to Ebola, to which he answered “no,” according to the Associated Press. The lack of fever reveals that he was exposed just days before coming into the U.S. and did not know that he had come in contact with the deadly disease.

The Associated Press reported that Duncan may have contracted the disease by helping his neighbors transport a sick pregnant woman, Marthalene Williams, to a hospital. She died the next day. Williams was the first to have Ebola in Duncan’s neighborhood. They probably did not know Williams had Ebola thinking she was having pregnancy complications.

While Duncan was in the Dallas hospital he received the experimental drug brincidofovir. The hospital was criticized for failing to recognize his symptoms and for giving him the drug 10 days after getting sick. Many are questioning why it took doctors so long to recognize his symptoms even though they were told he had been in Liberia, and why it had taken them so long to give him the anti-viral drug knowing that Ebola is a quick moving virus.

How will this impact us and where is Ebola headed?

The future of Ebola and how it will impact Americans is not quite clear. The family and those who have come in contact with Duncan are still in quarantine. The CDC has made recommendations as to how Duncan’s body should be handled to prevent further spread of infection.  

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