Duncan...Man who brought Ebola to U.S. dies

2014-10-09
THE NATION Newspaper


THE man who brought Ebola to the United States from West Africa 18 days ago has died this morning in a Dallas hospital.

Thomas Eric Duncan, whose health took a grave turn for the worse this weekend, succumbed to the virus at 7.51am at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, officials announced late this morning.

The 42-year-old Liberian national exposed nearly 50 people to the disease in America, including his fiancée Louise Troh and two of her children. They remain quarantined and under constant monitoring by health officials over fears that they, too, could develop symptoms during a 21-day incubation period.

His body, which still carries the virus, must now be disposed of in a way that will not put anyone else at risk.

Duncan landed in Dallas on September 20 after traveling from his home in Monrovia, Liberia. He is accused of lying to airport screeners about his contact with Ebola patients, though his family and friends say he had no idea he had been infected.

He came to America in the hopes of marrying Ms Troh after rekindling his relationship with her after more than a decade apart. He was also hoping to be reunited with the 19-year-old son Karsiah, a college student in Texas.

She also hinted that she was not fully satisfied with his care. When he first went to Texas Presbyterian, he was sent home with a prescription for antibiotics.

‘I trust a thorough examination will take place regarding all aspects of his care. I am now dealing with the sorrow and anger that his son was not able to see him before he died. This will take some time, but in the end, I believe in a merciful God,’ she said.

Duncan landed in Dallas on September 20 after traveling from his home in Monrovia, Liberia. He is accused of lying to airport screeners about his contact with Ebola patients, though his family and friends say he had no idea he had been infected.

He came to America in the hopes of marrying Ms Troh after rekindling his relationship with her after more than a decade apart. He was also hoping to be spend time with his 19-year-old son Karsiah, a college student in Texas – though the two were not reunited before his death.

Duncan developed symptoms of the disease on September 24. He went to the hospital the next day – only to be given antibiotics and sent home by doctors. For three more days, he suffered with Ebola in Ms Troh’s Dallas apartment, potentially exposing her and her family to the disease.

On September 28, four days later after he became contagious, he was rushed back to Texas Presbyterian and admitted.

On Monday doctors began administering an experimental antiviral drug to Duncan in the hopes that it could save his life, but he showed few signs of improvement.

His family said on Tuesday that he was medically sedated and unresponsive when they tried to visit him at the hospital.

Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital issued a statement that read: ‘It is with profound sadness and heartfelt disappointment that we must inform you of the death of Thomas Eric Duncan this morning at 7.51am. Mr. Duncan 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.’

Texas health officials must now dispose of Duncan’s body, which still harbors the disease. Ebola spreads by having contact with the bodily fluids of an infected patient. Even getting sweat or blood on the skin can cause an infection.

Guidance that the Centers for Disease Control issued to hospitals on the disposal of dead Ebola patients calls for Duncan’s body to be immediately wrapped in a plastic shroud and zipped up in two leak-proof body bags – with his medical lines and tubes still attached.

His remains will then be shipped to the Dallas County morgue, where his body will either be cremated or buried in a hermetically-sealed casket.

Officials recommend no autopsy or embalming, for fear that unnecessary contact with the remains could spread the infection.

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings issued a statement saying he was ‘deeply saddened’ to learn of Duncan’s death.

‘On behalf of the city of Dallas, I extend our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Mr. Duncan. I remain confident in the abilities of our health care professionals and the medical advances here in the U.S. and reassure you we will stop the Ebola virus in its tracts from spreading into our community.

‘I want to reinforce to the public, that this was an isolated incident of the Ebola virus; contracted by the individual while residing in another country. This is sad news for all involved. We will continue to work in partnership with Dallas County to do everything possible to protect our public health and all of the City of Dallas.’

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, who has helped coordinate the local response to the disease outbreak offered his condolences, saying: ‘My thoughts are with the family and friends of Thomas Eric Duncan at this time, especially his fiancée Louise, their son Karsiah and all those who loved him.’

Thomas Eric Duncan apologized to his fiancée after doctors told him he had the deadly disease and told her he would have rather died in Liberia than put her at risk, a family friend has said.

‘He apologized to Louise the day they told him what he had. He told her, “I’m so sorry all of this is happening. I would not put the love of my life in danger,’” Saymendy Lloyd told the Washington Post.

Duncan’s family are now saying that he had no idea he had been exposed to Ebola when he boarded a plane in Liberia, bound for the United States.

It has been previously reported that Duncan helped care for a pregnant woman who later died of the disease in Monrovia, Liberia. However, he ha told those close to him that he thought she was suffering complications from the pregnancy and had no idea she was infected with Ebola.

Duncan told Louise Troh, whom he came to the United States to marry, that he ‘would have preferred to stay in Liberia and died than bring this disease to you,’ Mr Lloyd told the Post.

Liberia authorities have accused Duncan of lying on an airport screening form before flying out of Monrovia last month and claiming he had no contact with Ebola victims. The Dallas County prosecutor also announced this week Duncan could face criminal charges if he knew he had Ebola and exposed people to the disease anyway.

Ten people, including seven healthcare workers and three family members, are considered at high risk for Ebola after they were exposed to Duncan after he became contagious. Another 38 more are being monitors by the CDC for possible risk of the disease.

Duncan’s fiance Louise Troh, who is perhaps highest at risk of catching the disease after she cared for him at her Dallas apartment while he sweated and vomited through the early stage of the disease, says she does not blame him for possibly exposing her.

She told WFAA-TV on Tuesday, before Duncan’s death, that she just wanted him to get better so that he can return to her. The couple, who met in a refugee camp in the Ivory Coast, have a 19-year-old son Karsiah together who is currently in college.

‘I’m just praying to God that he gets better. He’s a generous guy, and I’m just so sad. He just come to America and just get so sick, and just went down just in a second,’ she told the TV station.

‘I feel so sad. I’m confused, and really disturbed. I don’t know. I’m just praying to God so he can wake up and for him to be able to see his children and be able to come back to his family.’

Karsiah Duncan, a student at Angelo State University, arrived in Dallas to visit his father for the first time on Tuesday, but by then Duncan was unresponsive.

Condolences have poured in. Louise Troh, Duncan’s fiancée said: “This morning we received word that Eric passed away. His suffering is over. My family is in deep sadness and grief, but we leave him in the hands of God. Our deepest sympathies go out to his father and family in Liberia and here in America. Eric was a wonderful man who showed compassion toward all.

“I want to thank the Dallas Community, the church and the Liberian community; and, in particular, County Judge Jenkins; Mayor Rawlings; my pastor, George Mason; Saymendy Lloyd; Stanley Gay; and Alben Bush for all the love and support they have shown me and my family during this ordeal. Without their help, I can’t imagine how we could have endured.

“I trust a thorough examination will take place regarding all aspects of his care. I am now dealing with the sorrow and anger that his son was not able to see him before he died. This will take some time, but in the end, I believe in a merciful God.

“I hope that you will keep my family in your prayers. This has dramatically changed our lives, and we will be grieving for a long time. May Eric rest in peace.’

Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital said: “It is with profound sadness and heartfelt disappointment that we must inform you of the death of Thomas Eric Duncan this morning at 7:51 am. Mr. Duncan 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.”

Dr David Lakey, Commissioner, Texas Department of State Health Services said: “The past week has been an enormous test of our health system, but for one family it has been far more personal. Today they lost a dear member of their family.

“They have our sincere condolences, and we are keeping them in our thoughts. The doctors, nurses and staff at Presbyterian provided excellent and compassionate care, but Ebola is a disease that attacks the body in many ways. We’ll continue every effort to contain the spread of the virus and protect people from this threat.”

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said: “My thoughts are with the family and friends of Thomas Eric Duncan at this time, especially his fiancée Louise, their son Karsiah and all those who loved him. We are also thinking of the dedicated hospital staff who assisted Mr. Duncan daily while he fought this terrible disease. We offer prayers of comfort and peace to everyone impacted by his passing.”

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said: “ We are deeply saddened to learn that Mr Thomas Duncan has passed away. We appreciate the dedicated service of the emergency and medical personnel who worked diligently to care for him. On behalf of the city of Dallas, I extend our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Mr. Duncan.

“I remain confident in the abilities of our health care professionals and the medical advances here in the U.S. and reassure you we will stop the Ebola virus in its tracts from spreading into our community.

“I want to reinforce to the public, that this was an isolated incident of the Ebola virus; contracted by the individual while residing in another country. This is sad news for all involved. We will continue to work in partnership with Dallas County to do everything possible to protect our public health and all of the City of Dallas.”

 

Your comment

 

(E-mail)

 

 

 

News Archive