The family of Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan reached a “resolution” Tuesday with the Dallas hospital that treated him before he succumbed to the virus on Oct. 8, according to a news release from the family’s attorneys obtained by WFAA. Duncan’s family will release a statement and appear at a news conference on Wednesday morning “regarding a resolution they have reached on behalf of the children and parents of the deceased with Texas Health Resources and all related entities,” the release stated.
Duncan, a Liberian national, became the first person diagnosed with Ebola on American soil. He is also the only person to die from the disease in the United States. Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, where Duncan was treated, has come under intense scrutiny. Two nurses who cared for Duncan have tested positive for the disease and other nurses have said they received inadequate training on how to put on and take off protective equipment before Duncan arrived for treatment.
Last month, a spokesperson for Duncan's family told the Dallas Morning News that they might sue the hospital for its treatment of Duncan. But lawyers say it's unlikely that Texas Presbyterian faces serious legal risk from Ebola cases, due to a number of Texas court decisions and laws — including a sweeping 2003 Republican-led tort reform effort, according to the Texas Observer.
Although Duncan developed symptoms in the U.S., he apparently contracted the disease in Liberia. He reportedly had direct contact with someone who was stricken with Ebola virus on Sept. 15, just four days before he departed Liberia for the United States, according to senior Liberian officials.
Duncan, a resident of Monrovia, was on his first visit to the U.S. to visit his sister Mai Wureh in Texas, My Fox Dallas reported. He used to work for a shipping company but resigned in September, the Times wrote. He decided to go to the U.S. after he was able to get a tourist visa.
Duncan, who was in his mid-40s, arrived in the U.S. on Sept. 20 and began to feel ill on Sept. 24. He went to a Dallas emergency room and was given antibiotics. Still ailing, he was admitted to Texas Presbyterian hospital two days later and diagnosed with Ebola two days after that. He died 10 days after he was admitted.
So far, the United States has had four confirmed cases of Ebola and one death. Dr. Craig Spencer, the New York City doctor who was diagnosed after returning from Guinea, was released from the hospital Tuesday. A nurse in Mali, who had contracted the virus after treating a man from Guinea, died Tuesday -- confirming Mali's second death from Ebola, according to the BBC News. The outbreak in West Africa has already killed more than 4,900 people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Drugs are currently making their way through the testing phases in hopes of stemming the epidemic.