Ebola in the US: Texas hospital apologises in full-page newspaper advertisement

Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital says it is “deeply sorry” for mishandling the first Ebola case in the US

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The Independent US

The Dallas hospital at the centre of the Ebola scare in the US has taken out a full-page advertisement in a Sunday newspaper to apologise for its handling of the crisis.

Last month Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital misdiagnosed Thomas Eric Duncan, the first Ebola case in the United States, who died of the disease on October 8.

Two of the nurses who treated Duncan have been diagnosed with Ebola, and news of travelling hospital staff has triggered a nationwide panic.

In a letter to the community, Barclay Berdan, CEO of Texas Health Resources, acknowledged the hospital’s “mistakes in handling this very difficult challenge.”

He said the hospital is “deeply sorry” for the misdiagnosis and promised that “learned” from the incident.

The letter was published in the Sunday editions of the Dallas Morning News and For Worth Star-Telegram.

Read the statement in full

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On September 24, Duncan, a Liberian man who was visiting his family in Dallas, was diagnosed by the hospital with a “low-grade, common viral disease” and was sent home with antibiotics that would not have worked in treating a virus.

Medical records revealed that Duncan had a fever of 39 celsius and had rated his pain 8 on a scale of 1 to 10.

Duncan had informed the hospital of his recent travel history, having journeyed from west Africa where the Ebola crisis had already claimed thousands of lives.

 

Berdan said: “When we initially treated Mr Duncan, we examined him thoroughly and performed numerous tests, but the fact that Mr Duncan had travelled to Africa was not communicated effectively among the care team, though it was in his medical chart.

He said the staff was still at an early stage of its Ebola preparedness training.

“Despite our best intentions and skilled medical teams, we did not live up to the high standards that are at the heart of our hospital’s history, mission and commitment.”

At the White House on Saturday, President Obama and team of senior advisers took steps to further anti-Ebola efforts in Dallas.

A government statement said it will "ensure that Dallas has all of the appropriate and necessary resources to diagnose any additional cases safely and effectively."

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