Duncan Family Reaches Settlement With Texas Presbyterian Hospital


The family of Thomas Eric Duncan, the man who arrived from Liberia in September and died in October after contracting the Ebola virus in West Africa, has reached a settlement with the Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas. Attorney Les Weisbrod said the settlement, whose value is unknown, was a good deal for Duncan’s family.

His fiancée, with whom who he was staying in Dallas, has been left out of the settlement because they were not legally married. She and the late Duncan have a 13-year-old son. She will not receive compensation for loss of property that occurred when she was moved from her apartment to an isolated location to undergo the 21-day quarantine process. Under the terms of the settlement, the Texas Health Resources Foundation will also set up a charitable fund to help victims of Ebola.

Duncan’s arrival and death in the United States led to a frenzy, with fears that the disease would spread throughout the country. Two nurses who cared for him at the hospital, Nina Pham and Amber Vinson, contracted the disease but have since recovered. Other members of the family who were initially placed under the 21-day quarantine period have also been declared Ebola-free.

According to one report, Weisbrod said he did not believe that race played a part in the treatment that Duncan received at the hospital. He praised the institution for settling the matter in a timely manner without subjecting Duncan’s family to a protracted and lengthy litigation.

Josephus Weeks, the late Duncan’s nephew, expressed satisfaction with the settlement. He praised the hospital for taking the initiative to resolve the matter. He added that Duncan’s death would lead to making things better for others.

The Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas, which found itself in the spotlight after reports emerged that it had released Duncan to go home in September even though he had a body temperature of 103 degrees, said the hospital treated him with the same type of care accorded to any other patient. The institution acknowledged that it had failed to properly diagnose the symptoms during his first visit. The hospital hopes that the settlement it has reached with the family of the late Duncan will put the matter to rest.

There is no known person carrying the Ebola Virus in the United States. The last person hospitalized with the virus, Dr. Craig Spencer, who was infected with the virus when he traveled to treat Ebola patients in West Africa, was released from hospital Wednesday. President Obama celebrated the news by calling Dr Spencer from Beijing, China, where he is visiting as part of his tour to Asia. He commended Dr. Spencer for his sacrifice and concern for others in fighting the disease. According to a statement released by the White House, the president said he will continue supporting efforts to eliminate the disease in West Africa.

As the Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas hopes to get out of the Ebola spotlight after reaching a settlement with the family of the late Thomas Duncan, the World Health Organization(WHO) continues to monitor the spread of the disease in West Africa. The New York Post reported Wednesday there is a new outbreak in Mali. The latest case involved an Imam who had travelled to Mali from Guinea in search of better treatment. While he was initially treated for Kidney failure, it was later discovered that he had died from Ebola after a nurse who cared for him in Mali and some of his relatives died.

By Benedicto Ateku

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Photo image by Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr – Flickr License

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