First U.S. Ebola patient dies at Texas hospital

Duncan became symptomatic on Sept. 24

Thomas Eric Duncan—the Liberian man who tested positive for Ebola in Dallas, Texas, last month—died on Wednesday morning, according to officials from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas.

Duncan was the first patient to test positive for Ebola on U.S. soil, and he is the first Ebola patient treated at a U.S. hospital to die of the disease.

Details of the case

Duncan flew from Liberia on Sept. 19 and arrived in the United States on Sept. 20 to visit relatives. He first became ill on Sept. 24 and went to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital on Sept. 25. However, health workers did not suspect Ebola and he was discharged.

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According to hospital officials, one of the nurses asked the man about his travel history, and he volunteered that he had been in Liberia days before. However, a miscommunication between members of Duncan's care team led workers to lower his risk status and his discharge from the hospital.

When the patient's health worsened on Sept. 28, he returned to the hospital via ambulance.

On Oct. 7, hospital officials announced that Duncan had been put on a ventilator and a kidney dialysis machine and that he was fighting for his life. At 7:51 a.m. on Wednesday, he succumbed to the viral infection that has killed more than 3,400 people in West Africa.

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Duncan 'fought courageously'

"He fought courageously in this battle," the hospital said in a statement. "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."

It is believed Duncan became infected with Ebola when he helped his landlord's daughter get to the hospital on Sept. 15. The woman—stricken with Ebola—was turned away from the hospital and Duncan helped bring her home in his taxi.

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According to Josephus Weeks, Duncan's nephew, the family "begged and pleaded" for Duncan to receive blood serum from an Ebola survivor, as other patients in the United States have received. However, the family was told that it was too late to administer the serum, according to Bloomberg (Berman, "Post Nation," Washington Post, 10/8; Garza/Valdmanis, Yahoo! News/Reuters, 10/7; Fernandez, New York Times, 10/8; Gilblom et al., Bloomberg, 10/8).

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