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Ebola Blog: Friend Speaks Out On Behalf Of Ebola Patient's Family


Saymendy Lloyd, a friend of the woman who planned to marry Thomas Duncan, spoke on behalf of the family of the Dallas Ebola patient during a press conference Friday afternoon. 

Lloyd says that Duncan's fiancee, Louise Troh, did not think Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital should have released Thomas Duncan during his initial emergency room visit on Sept. 25.

She says the family is considering taking legal action against the hospital.

Lloyd says the hospital pursued various treatments without consent from Duncan or his family. 

She says the staff made the decision to put Duncan on dialysis without the family’s consent, but delayed in giving him the experimental drug Brincidofivir because of lack of consent.

Texas Health Presbyterian officials said they wouldn't comment on Lloyd's remarks. 

But in a statement on Thursday, Presbyterian officials said that doctors treated Duncan with Brincidofovir after consulting with experts, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and the Food and Drug Administration.

"The investigative drug was administered as soon as his physicians determined that his condition warranted it, and as soon as it could be obtained," the hospital says. "Mr. Duncan was the first Ebola patient to receive this drug."

Lloyd said the family called the hospital daily, but staff members were slow when responding to family requests on Duncan’s condition. 

“There were times [Louise] was told by the nurse, ‘I can’t answer your questions,’” she said. “There were times they would call and they would say ‘The doctors are in a meeting, we’ll call you right back.' They were not communicating at all.”

Lloyd says the family was shocked when they received the news of Duncan’s death.

“When we went to the hospital on Tuesday night, they said to us, ‘He’s doing very well, his kidneys are doing much better, we’re so happy,’ so we left with high hopes,” she said. 

The family is grieving. But Lloyd said she felt Duncan’s death was not in vain because it has brought more attention to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.

“Eric's death was not in vain," Lloyd said. "It is through Eric that the attention for Ebola is widespread."

In a statement issued on Thursday, Texas Health Presbyterian elaborated on its treatment of Duncan during his initial visit to the hospital.

"Our care team provided Mr. Duncan with the same high level of attention and care that would be given any patient, regardless of nationality or ability to pay for care," the hospital said. "In this case that included a four-hour evaluation and numerous tests. We have a long history of treating a multicultural community in this area."

2:38 p.m. Dallas Ebola patient had 103-degree temperature in ER, AP reports

Thomas Eric Duncan's temperature spiked to 103 degrees during the hours of his initial visit to an emergency room -- a fever so serious that it was flagged with an exclamation point in the hospital's record-keeping system.

Medical records provided to The Associated Press show that the man who would become the only person to die from Ebola in the U.S. was eventually sent home, despite the fever and other symptoms consistent with the disease, and despite telling a nurse that he had recently been in Africa.

Duncan's family provided his medical records to The Associated Press -- more than 1,400 pages in all.

Neither a spokesman for Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital nor a doctor who evaluated Duncan immediately responded to messages left by AP on Friday.

AP Reporter Holbrook Mohr on Thomas Duncan's fever.

2:20 p.m. Homeland Security Committee holds hearing regarding Dallas Ebola case

Earlier this afternoon, U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul held a hearing to review the federal, state and local response to the first Ebola case diagnosed in the country. The hearing took place at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

Among those scheduled to testify before the House Homeland Security Committee chairman are David Lakey, the Texas health commissioner and Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins.

This comes two days after the death of Thomas Eric Duncan, a 42-year-old Liberian man, at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. Duncan had arrived in Dallas on Sept. 20 to reunite with his family, but began developing symptoms four days later. He first sought care at Texas Health Presbyterian on Sept. 25 and told health workers he had traveled from West Africa, but was sent home with antibiotics. He was later hospitalized on Sept. 28 and died Wednesday.

2:15 p.m. Friend of Thomas Duncan talks about his medical treatment

A friend of the Dallas Ebola patient who died talked publicly about Thomas Duncan, his care and how his family is doing. We live streamed the press conference earlier this afternoon -- we'll post some of what she said. 

1:47 p.m. Kent Brantly, treated for Ebola, urges calm in Dallas

Dr. Kent Brantly, the first American flown back to the U.S. for treatment of Ebola, is urging calm for the people of Dallas and elsewhere who are worried about contracting the deadly disease.

Brantly, speaking Friday to Abilene Christian University's alumni magazine, acknowledged fears some have shared since Thomas Duncan was hospitalized in Dallas with Ebola. Brantly says people should be finding ways to help the outbreak in West Africa, "not worrying that because we live 100 miles from a hospital that treated a patient that we are at risk."

Brantly also says he spoke with a doctor caring for Duncan and was willing to donate blood, but their blood types didn't match. Duncan died Wednesday.

Brantly was visiting his former school to discuss efforts to combat Ebola.

1:28 p.m. Race wasn't a factor in Duncan's hospital treatment, mayor says

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings appeared on HuffPost Live to discuss the death of Thomas Duncan. Some are saying that Duncan's race played a role in his medical treatment at Texas Health Presbyterian. Duncan traveled from Liberia to Dallas late last month before he became ill.

Rawlings says he doesn't think race was a factor.

Here's a transcript of his remarks, according to HuffPost.

"[Dallas] prides itself on diversity and while there may have been a missed step along the way ... I don't believe race was a factor," Rawlings told HuffPost. "But I will let [Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas] speak for themselves in that regard ... I'm very familiar with Presbyterian ... My daughter was born there, people of color work there and are taken care of there for decades. It's a very good hospital and I'm proud of that ... [Presbyterian Hospital] is about a mile away [from] one of the biggest immigrant populations, over 30 languages spoken -- that's their hospital."

The hospital on Thursday denied that Duncan's race played a factor.

"We’d like to correct some misconceptions that have been reported about Mr. Duncan’s first visit," the hospital said in a statement. "Our care team provided Mr. Duncan with the same high level of attention and care that would be given any patient, regardless of nationality or ability to pay for care. In this case that included a four-hour evaluation and numerous tests. We have a long history of treating a multicultural community in this area.

Watch the HuffPost video below or watch it here:

12:48 p.m.: Presbyterian says it has "made changes to our intake process" to better screen for Ebola

Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital just released a statement: "Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas continues to closely review and evaluate the chain of events related to the first Ebola virus diagnosis in the United States. At the same time, we have made changes to our intake process as well as other procedures to better screen for all critical indicators of Ebola virus.  In addition, Spohn Memorial in Corpus Christi today reached out to us about our experience and learnings. We briefed them and will continue to make our professionals available to any health system diagnosing potential new cases of Ebola."

The statement continues: "The nurses, doctors and team who cared for Mr. Duncan, as well as the entire Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas community, grieve his death. We are committed to providing the best possible care to every patient we see, and to sharing our experiences and learnings in managing this insidious disease with the broader health care community."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

A timeline of main Ebola events

Here's a look at some of the main Ebola news developments over the past several days. Hover over the right-hand side of the timeline to advance it.

Former KERA staffer Krystina Martinez was an assistant producer. She produced local content for Morning Edition and She also produced The Friday Conversation, a weekly series of conversations with North Texas newsmakers. Krystina was also the backup newscaster for the Texas Standard.
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, 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.