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Ebola Patient Denied He Had Been Exposed, Dallas Hospital Says

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Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital says a man who has Ebola initially told an emergency room nurse that he had no contact with anyone who was ill when he was in Liberia.

A Dallas hospital says a man who has Ebola initially told an emergency room nurse that he had no contact with anyone who was ill when he was in Liberia.

Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital discharged Thomas Eric Duncan after that Sept. 25 visit. He returned two days later on Sept. 27 via ambulance and was diagnosed with the deadly virus.

In a statement Thursday, the hospital says Duncan admitted he'd recently arrived from West Africa but denied he had been around anyone sick. Duncan's neighbors in the Liberian capital, Monrovia, have told The Associated Press that he helped a 19-year-old woman who has since died of Ebola.

The hospital says Duncan had a fever, headache, abdominal pain and decreased urination, but no vomiting or diarrhea. He is now isolated at the hospital in serious condition.

"Mr. Duncan’s symptoms were not severe at the time he first visited the hospital emergency department," the hospital said in a statement.

Duncan told a nurse on Sept. 25 that he had been in Africa -- information that was noted in the nursing portion of Duncan's electronic medical record.

But the travel history didn't appear in the record that hospital doctors accessed.  The travel history doesn't automatically appear in a doctor's standard workflow, the hospital said in a statement. There are separate nursing and physician workflows.

"As result of this discovery, Texas Health Dallas has relocated the travel history documentation to a portion of the EHR that is part of both workflows," hospital officials said. "It also has been modified to specifically reference Ebola-endemic regions in Africa."

Eric Aasen is KERA’s managing editor. He helps lead the station's news department, including radio and digital reporters, producers and newscasters. He also oversees keranews.org, the station’s news website, and manages the station's digital news projects. He reports and writes stories for the website and contributes pieces to KERA radio. He's discussed breaking news live on various public radio programs, including The Takeaway, Here & Now and Texas Standard, as well as radio and TV programs in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.