Evidence of clinical negligence is piling up against a Texas hospital that initially turned away a patient with Ebola-like symptoms who later died. Medical records provided to the Associated Press by Thomas Eric Duncan’s family reveals he had a fever of 103 degrees when he presented to Dallas’ Texas Presbyterian Hospital emergency room on Sept. 24 — four days after he arrived in the U.S. from Ebola hotspot Liberia.
Records show Duncan and his stepdaughter informed the ER nurse that he had just arrived in the country from Liberia. After ruling out other medical conditions, the attending physician wrote Duncan a prescription for antibiotics and Tylenol — after diagnosing him with a viral infection. Antibiotics are not effective against a virus.
Despite the fact that Duncan’s high fever was flagged in his chart with an exclamation point, the discharge doctor wrote “negative for fever and chills” on his discharge papers.
Duncan returned to the same hospital on Sept. 28 via ambulance. By the time he was admitted and placed in strict isolation, he was gravely ill. Duncan became the first Ebola patient diagnosed on U.S. soil.
Six days later, doctors administered an experimental antiviral drug to Duncan.
The family begged doctors to give him an antibody-rich blood plasma transfusion from one of 2 doctors who survived Ebola. But the hospital claims Duncan and the doctors were not a match. This despite the fact that plasma (serum) does not require the same strict blood typing as whole red blood cells.
The hospital has changed its story multiple times, initially saying Duncan did not advise ER staff that he was from Liberia. A hospital spokesman also said Duncan had a low-grade fever upon his initial visit to the ER. A 103 degree temperature is not a low-grade fever.
The family is planning to file a lawsuit against the hospital.