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Family of Thomas Eric Duncan says his death from Ebola is ‘racially motivated’

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The family of Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person to die of Ebola on U.S. soil, joined the Rev. Jesse Jackson at his Rainbow Push headquarters to call foul on the treatment Mr. Duncan received.

They say the treatment Duncan received was at best 'incompetent' and at worst 'racially motivated.'

Duncan passed away last week, but his mom and nephew spoke out at Rainbow Push's weekly gathering today.

The family is asking why Duncan wasn't moved to Emory University Hospital, where Dr. Kent Brantly and Dr. Nancy Writebol received life saving treatment for Ebola.

Duncan's nephew now wants all of his uncle's medical records, where he will have them reviewed by independent doctors and contagious disease experts.

However, doctors at Texas Presbyterian Hospital, where Duncan was treated, say their staff was 'well-equipped' to handle his case.

The whole ordeal has left Duncan's mother heartbroken.

Family members say they are considering some form of legal action against the hospital where Duncan received treatment.

189 comments

    • Keryn Munson

      The “you people” thing is completely uncalled for. It has nothing to do with race. If I went to a hospital and did not have insurance the same thing would happen to me! He lied on his screening form and then lied at the hospital. They had no real reason to think he had ebola….just because he was black. He also said he had not been exposed. Since when are health providers required to read minds? It is the flu season, by the way. This man put the whole country in danger by lying on that form. I feel sorry for his family but can’t understand why they are still letting people into the country from West Africa until the disease has either run its course or been contained…

      • Marissa

        Are you people serious??? This guy should of never even been in this country. He came here knowing he had contact with ebola. He put thousands of people at risk of infection. He is NOT a citizen of this country, the tax payers dollar paid for his hospitalization while he was here and the reality is he shouldn’t of ever been here. He has now spread this deadly disease In America. ebola started in AFRICA, spread by Africans but yet the white man is to blame again? We are saving only white people is what you ignorant people are saying???? The white people that got treatment here were selfless medical workers who went to Africa to help the black people. You better believe they got the best care possible when they got sick, they were after all America citizens.

  • josette

    Wow, three factors that could not have been changed by admitting him earlier, 1. No zmapp none not one dose 2. WRONG Blood type 3. HE requested to NOT be resuscitated documented fact. So it is either blatant selfish money grabbing or serious lack of basic education coupled with no ability to grasp basic concepts. That inspire the accusations the ONLY thing The hospital did wrong by delaying isolation was increase the risk to the public

  • Bummed1

    Racially motivated? Been listening to Jesse much too long. One day and they’re already brainwashed. Also look where they got it from….Africa! Guess the black nation giving ebola to a black guy is racial……Good call folks, go sue Angola or whatever and stop looking for your 15 minutes of fame.

  • Ebolaman

    Maybe if the guy didn’t lie to get back into the US, people would feel bad for him. He brought the disease here and put people in danger. Glad he’s dead.

    • SicknTire of Stupidity

      Compensation for what, I am a black person and I agree with the majority of the responses here, this man lied, he knew, yet he decided to travel here anyway. Jesse Jackson needs to go sit down somewhere and here is the reason why, since Duncans death two more individuals have become victims of this man’s selfish act. Looking at the broader picture, his family that he lived with during this time should be either ebola infected or out of isolation. I am leaning more toward the out of isolation side, since we have not heard anything more about them. Red flag! He knew and they knew!

  • Kevin B. (@kbottoms1)

    Of course he didn’t lie to hospital staff, even though they let him wait in a public waiting room and took none of the precautions for their own safety one would take if they knew he had Ebola and he told the nurses he had not come into contact with anyone with the disease. And of course it’s the hospitals staff for not having experimental drugs on hand or the CDC lined up and ready to go for a man who said there’s no way his fever and nausea and other common symptoms were due to an incredibly rare disease he told them he was no where near. It’s extraordinary to live in a society where nothing is ever your fault.

    They even allege the CDC should have started treatment in Africa, even though they also rest their entire claim he didn’t lie on the fact that he didn’t know the woman he helped had the disease.

    His family is hurting, they lost a man they loved way to early to an incredibly rare disease. That’s terrible. But I hate how victims families always look to blame someone else. They’d rather take their hurt out on other people and lash out and deny that their loved ones could possibly have had any fault in their own demise. As terrible as it is, and as inadequate of an explanation as it is, there’s no Rube-Goldberg-esque plot to deny this one man treatment as his family has alleged but rather a terrible error caused by his less than forth-coming information. Don’t know what he was thinking, maybe he was in denial and afraid of exactly the kind of prosecution they were looking in to but it’d be a comical case of frivolous law suit if a man hadn’t died.

  • Sam

    Duncan lied on screening documents during travel from Liberia to the United States, claiming to have not come in contact with those affected with Ebola. He was fully aware of having come in contact with the infected, more specifically a woman who died of the infection and, in spite of this, chose to travel overseas and lie to government officials. All this considered, the hospital provided him treatment even though he did not hold the necessary medical insurance (and the government chose not to deport him.) He received treatment which, if assessed in terms of labor hours, cost of sanitation & infection prevention, cost of hospital services etc. was worth countless thousands of dollars.

    If you ask me, the proposed lawsuit is a display of tremendous ingratitude on the part of his family.

    • Ron Dennis

      Duncan was unaware he had any contact with anyone known to have ebola, including Marthalene Williams. She collapse 7 months into a difficult pregnancy, so her family thought she was having a miscarriage and didn’t suspect ebola. Even the 4 clinics they took her to turned her away thinking she was ill from something other than ebola; otherwise, why would they turn her away and fail to isolate her and her contacts?

      The Liberian health ministry suspected she may have had ebola 9 days after she died, starting on Sept 25, and only because her relatives were dying off. By then, Duncan too was showing symptoms. He didn’t know he was infected or had contact with anyone with ebola, so he did not lie.

      • Cindy Cummings

        It has been reported in an international news publication that the young pregnant woman was bleeding from the month . . since when is bleeding from the mouth a complication of pregnancy? Mr. Duncan was in an area rife with Ebola . . he knew there was a strong possibility he had been exposed and he made the decision to travel to the US regardless. I am sincerely sorry he developed this deadly disease and have much sympathy for his family. However, the hospital or American people are NOT to blame. He and his family need to except responsibility and stop trying to blame others and benefit from his death. That is so very sad!

  • Ron Dennis

    Thomas Duncan’s treatment at Presby was a national embarrassment, rife with mistakes, indecision, and a lack of transparency which seemed unusually cruel, especially since the family was kept in the dark about anything that happened to Duncan.

    Most glaring of all, it was suspicious when the hospital said, “[H]e did not want to be resuscitated if he stopped breathing.” (See http://thescoopblog.dallasnews.com/2014/10/presbyterian-hospital-defends-its-treatment-of-ebola-patient.html/). Duncan was on a breathing tube. Unless Presby pulled the plug on his ventilator, he couldn’t have stopped breathing.

    Duncan was also honest in what he told Liberian customs officials and Presby’s medical staff. He was unaware that he had contacts with any known ebola patients in Liberia and never showed any symptoms until 5 days after arriving in America. He was unaware the person he helped back in Liberia, Marthalene Williams, was infected with ebola because no one bothered to see and diagnose her to inform others.

    According to CNN, he was unaware what was going on with the pregnant teen on Sept 15, as everyone assumed she had a complication of her pregnancy and never got an answer. An NPR article on Oct 9, entitle “Fond memories of ebola victim Eric Duncan, anger over his death,” even states: “Duncan did not know he’d been exposed to Ebola by the pregnant woman, says his brother-in-law, John Lewis.”

    Even the Liberian govt hadn’t suspected Williams had ebola until Sept 25, 9-10 days after she died and when Duncan started having symptoms, himself, in America because her contacts began dying well after Duncan left Liberia on Sept 19. By then it was too late, and the answers were no longer going to change what had already happened.

    Presby was lying about Duncan’s treatment to everyone all along, telling the press that he failed to identify that his travel history to Liberia and then hiding that he had a fever of 103º F on his first visit to the ER on Sept 25. After that, they kept his family away from seeing Duncan, even through a glass partition, delayed treatment with brincidofovir for 6 days, and wouldn’t communicate any information to the family, including when he died. This is just callous and reckless behavior by the hospital.

    Presby deserves all the bad press it’s been getting. They are the ones who have been lying all along and seemed to have something to hide. If I were a patient in Dallas, I’d seriously question going to Presby for any of my medical care needs.

    • Lynn Tullos

      It is incompetence on the part of Presby hospital. I had dealings with their incompetence with my records. (never found) for their Qwik care in the 1990’s. They deserve the lawsuit in my opinion (which may be biased by my opinion of the way they stored their cases. But then again religion based health care ( while they mean well) has a record for falling short of the mark in quality care.

      • Lynn Tullos

        If they let him leave the hospital with a 103 temp they really deserve the bad rap. If a private hospital they can send him on to the public hospital AFTER they stabilize him but if they sent him HOME with a 103 they deserve all the Hell they get.

      • Logic

        I know! I can’t BELIEVE that they are allowed to treat people after what they did to you! Couldn’t find a RECORD! OMFG!

        Well, I guess we’ll have to just wait for the happy day when the government runs all health care, right? Then we can all get awesome care like our veterans!

      • Shiqueta

        Lynn plenty of people leave the hospital with a 103 fever. Given Motrin and told to drink Gatorade and rest but since Lynn knows what the er nurse and doc were thinking we should all accept her fact that it was racism Lynn why the guilt for being white. If you hate the white race go live in Africa and be happy

    • Kforb

      But you’re not a patient in Dallas so don’t speak for those of us who are.

      It baffles me that a family is comfortable enough to say that this has anything to do with racism. If you’ve read the news this morning you’d know that a nurse who cared for Duncan has tested positive for the virus. The hospital is so racist that they are willing to risk their own life just to make sure a black man doesn’t live. Oh wait, thats preposterous!!!!

      • Logic

        But you don’t have the secret knowledge like Lynn here has!

        Just read her comments: she can tell you. Couldn’t get a medical record once: shameful behavior.

        She (and others like her) will always make things about race because it makes them feel good to shut down the argument with it.

        Now stop asking questions! Jesse Jackson and the family need to make a buck here!

    • Logic

      tl;dr

      Duncan lied his way here because he thought he could get better treatment.

      He lied to the ER staff.

      He exposed countless people to this disease.

      He is a monster.

      But hey, don’t let that get in the way of your racism narrative.

  • Sunny Dee

    Get real. It’s because he, himself, chose to go to the hospital where he was treated; not once, but twice! The other people also chose to go to the hospital where they were cured. Goes to show you that you must be informed about the doctors and places where you get healthcare. But, beyond this, you could also say, I guess that Duncan lied to come to this country and infect whites and that would be racial and about as stupid as what you are inferring about his medical treatment or lack thereof.

  • John Smith.

    This is the same crutch that will continue to keep the 13% where they are. If it were not so tragic it would be funny…

  • Lynn Tullos

    Sunny Dee -he did not LIE . He thought because she was pregnant she needed to go to a hospital for complications. also the questionnaire did not say have you had contact with a person with Ebola …it asked if he cared for a person with Ebola. He wasn’t out to get white americans (that’s just silly) His own family may be the only Ebola victims here (why would he put them at such risk IF he had known he had the virus?). Use your brain and learn to look at the facts instead of being an emotional reactionary. (emotions aren’t facts)

    • Keryn Munson

      now it comes to light that everyone was aware the pregnant woman had ebola. If he didn’t know what she had he should have told them he was with a sick person but didn’t know what was wrong with her. That the hospital turned him away was not that unusual since ebola masks itself quite well as stomach flu. He did not tell them he was with a person who was pregnant and sick, that ebola was in the village, that he drove her around for hours while she was vomiting blood (not usually a sign of miscarriage) and that he wasn’t sure if she had ebola or not. They might not have thought of asking him about exposure to ebola because of the screening he went through at the airport and that he was allowed to travel. He might not have even told them he recently arrived from Liberia. There are a thousand bits of information we are not privy to in this case.

    • Logic

      No – it is abundantly clear that he knew he was exposed.

      He lied to the ER staff.

      Now his family is trying to extort money from the hospital that treated him.

      Deport them all.

    • T

      Oh, he defiantly informed his family,prior to arrival, that he may be infected. That’s why they haven’t contracted it, but a nurse in full protective gear did.

    • T

      Had they jumped to conclusions and quarantined him on the first visit just because he was an African, and he didn’t have Ebola, the family would still be suing for racism

    • Bl Lab

      emotions are a direct response to stimuli, no offense, they are a natural born response system often times to identify dangers in your immediate area. Passed down from our hunter/gatherer breed. It is incorrect to claim emotions don’t EVER identify a REAL threat, our subconscious minds do a lot of processing for us for a reason.

  • Lynn Tullos

    I realize you think a sick person has a choice always about who gives them their care . That’s not the case for 80% of the population -when you sick you go to the closest hospital most of the time. You may tongue in cheek about infecting whites but its a poor comparison. Given the history of what has happened to blacks in this country when it comes to health care they have every right to be paranoid.

  • Lynn Tullos

    AMERICANS=Americans. My father fought for the right of ALL Americans to hold their heads up and demand fair treatment under the law. If the legal record shows that that hospital needs to compensate the family for improper care given to their loved ones then it should happen. Time will tell and if people want to claim racist behavior on the part of the hospital it is no skin off your nose unless you are the one being sued. Whatever the claim, the record so far doesn’t look good for the hospital about the initial care of this ill man. If I were the family I’d sue the gov’t official that said he lied on the questionnaire because that is defamation of character. But that’s another country (different legal
    rules)

    • Logic

      Well, I’m glad that you have all of the facts in the case settled already.

      I mean, the body’s not even cool yet and you just KNOW it’s racism and inequality.

      If only we had a great healthcare system and no inequality like the USSR. Good times…good times…

    • NoGuiltHere

      ‘Lynne, you’re father serving this country has absolutely nothing to do with this subject. What have YOU done for your country?
      Unfortunately the CDC has not yet discovered a cure for your affliction…White Guilt. Since you’re so quick to open up the hospital’s checkbook to pay compensation, maybe you should donate half your earnings to the NAACP to absolve yourself of the guilt brought on by your race exploiting the black man for so long.

    • Logic

      Thanks Lynn!

      We need sound legal reasoning like yours in this crazy world.

      And the black folk need you to speak up for them because they’re too stupid to do it themselves, right?

  • Lynn Tullos

    also consider how well informed the young man was to report it to the CDC in the first case. How many people of his age (not even grown ups or medical staff thought to do that) would have thought to do that?

  • Lynn Tullos

    ….and you aren’t crying at the moment iamnoone? There ..there so sensitive…when people are in the minority they need to be more vigilant to their rights . Just taking it on the chin usually gets them an early grave. Look to the minorities in other countries and our recent past and present to see how the majority can be.

  • GLC

    Well so many of these comments are correct. We don’t have national health care. no insurance, lie on your paperwork coming into this country, then as someone said they are suppose to mind read your mind that you might have ebola when you are one of maybe 3 people in the entire history of this country to have it. im sure its not on the top of the ER doctors list, unless you give them that information. second a law suit, well if they get paid, wouldn’t the money just go back to the hospital since his care was maybe a half a million dollars. which taxe payers or others with health insurance will have to foot the bill, when their rates go up.

    I just got a cell phone in February, my first one ever. I haven’t had a vacation since 1999. I live in a tiny apt. I work all the time, guess what I have always had health insurance because its a priority. some people think others should pay for them. I do not . im not disabled. I am what you call a responsible adult. do I like paying for insurance, no not one bit, but that’s life. you need to have it in this country to have good health, end of story

  • Donna

    I normally do not comment but this makes me so sad. There are thousands of people dying of this horrible disease. There is no room in this fight for claiming race related issues. Look what is happening in Africa. People are dying in the streets – newborn babies included. When I first saw this in the news back in January, everyone said “Not to worry” and “we can control this” and my most favorite ” you can only catch it if you …” Look what is happening in Africa. It can, and most likely will happen here as well. If we were as prepared here as the “voices” would like us to believe, Duncan would have never been sent home from the get go, and I am sure he was treated by individuals of other races without protective gear who are going to come down with the disease. Instead of turning this in to a race related situation over one individual, it would behoove us to spend our, money, time and resources figuring out how to ensure we are much more prepared for what is to come and keep our focus there. Also, read the book “Hot Zone”. That book, based on fact is more scary than any horror book or movie I have ever seen, but the truth usually is.

    • Logic

      Yeah, but how would Jesse Jackson and the other race hustlers out there make a buck from it?

      The “Racism!” train has already left the station. Greed is the driver.

    • gain insight

      Thank you for sharing Donna. I have the same concern about the level of exposure and how we need to prepare. I could not locate information on if they isolated and observed his family, or the other health care providers that aided him in the beginning. As you mentioned, this should be our main focus.

    • Lamine

      Thanks Donna for bringing some sense here. It amazes me how quick we turn on our race radar instead of using our energy toward bringing people together.

  • Kkwilson

    this is completely ridiculous. Yes, they missed the diagnosis the first time. However, we have been being told that Ebola won’t come to America., so it is was not fore front in healthcare workers minds. This man lies in his travel documents and brought one of the deadliest viruses known to man to our country. Now, a female nurse has contracted Ebola even though her only contact was in full protective gear ( remember it is extremely hard to catch). I would like for Mr. Duncan’s family to explain to this nurses family how he received sub standard care. She has sacrificed her health to care for him as many did. Ebola has a 50 to 90 percent death rate , this has nothing to do with race. Things like this keep our country divided and shame on people like Jesse Jackson and the media for fueling such things. This is a tragic disease nothing more nothing less.

    • Logic

      The family isn’t doing much to get folks on their side either.

      They had better pray that this doesn’t start a massive outbreak, ’cause then they’ll really get to see what racism looks like.

  • kathleen strodtman

    Having been a nurse for over 35 yrs I strongly disagree that the hospital was desciminating against this patient.I never saw anyone denied care for any reason.The doctors have no idea if the patient has no insurance nor do the nurses.If someone comes to the ER the first person they see is an admitting clerk.Often they will have someone from admitting help the patient apply for medicaid or financial assistance.Actually those on public assistance get the same care as those with private insurance.I am sorry this family and Jessie Jackson want to make this a racial problem when all of those who cared for this patient endangered their own safety and not once have I heard them praised by this family .

  • chieko

    just wondering about the background of the duncan family. does anyone know if theywere on govt assisted housing, public assistance? was duncan working? if not, how could he afford to travel to another country? where did he get his money to travel? majoriety of americans can’t travel like he could.

  • Common Sense

    Jesse Jackson is racially motivated in everything he does. I’m sure deep down inside, he’s glad this man died. Now he has something else to put him in the spotlight.

  • TIRED OF THIS S***

    Jesse Jackson needs to butt out… and why does everyone want to stick the race card in everyone’s face. Seriously, more often than not, skin color doesn’t occur to people until someone decides to play the victim role. Has it occurred to anyone that the hospital staff is not even remotely all white???

  • Kim Dea

    Not racial, not about the color… GET OVER that… They did as much as they could. It’s an scary epidemic decease, even one nurse contacted it. Hope his family not seeing an opportunity to get free easy money.

  • beth

    What a@@holes. This man who doesn’t even have US insurance got free top of the kine treatment and selfishly exposed hundreds to this deadly virus. Kick them out of the country AFTER the poor nurse who has now contracted it sues them for everything they’ve got!

  • vjones

    First, let me say that my prayers and thoughts go out to Duncan’s family members. Losing a family member is a terrible burden.
    That being said, I must ask a few questions that no one else seems to be asking. Reverend Jackson and John Wiley Price, are you going to represent the health care worker who contracted ebola because Mr. Duncan lied in order to come to the U.S.? Will you stand by her side, hold her mother’s hand and create sensational press to show concern for her and her family? Will you help her receive some of the money that you are going to make sure Duncan’s family receives from the impending law suit that you seem to be encouraging? And do you actually believe that Mr. Duncan who (God rest his soul) had never visited his son before suddenly had an epiphany to visit? Reverend and Mr. Price, do you actually believe that Mr. Duncan (again, God rest his soul) did not realize the women he transported to four ebola hospitals before he returned with her to her apt. had ebola? His town is racked with the disease, she was having seizures and in some reports was bleeding from the nose.
    Racism? He lied to the triage nurse and said that while he came from Liberia, he was not exposed to the ebola virus. How do we blame the hospital for that?
    Racism? He had no money nor insurance and was treated anyway incurring a treatment cost in the hundreds of thousands, as well as exposing dozens of people to the terrible virus (including many children). Had he told the truth from the beginning he never would have entered the U.S. Had to told the truth the first time he went to the hospital, his treatment protocol would have been very different. They may have transported him to Emory as his mother suggested.
    Racism? His family is now being housed, fed, clothed and treated for no cost because of their relative lied in order to enter this country and brought this terrible virus with him.
    Your actions in the recent past have lost you credibility but this time you are laughable. No, not laughable but deplorable. This publicity stunt is not only irresponsible but just like Mr. Duncan ( God rest his soul) full of lies.

  • Jock E Shift

    It’s only racism if idiot Jesse says it is. It’s time to get his mug back on TV now that the furor about his thieving son and daughter-in-law has calmed down. Opportunist pig.

  • Can't stand this

    An injustice was done starting when Duncan LIED on his papers in Liberia in order to gain entry to the U.S. Even the Liberian president stated that Duncan’s actions were unpardonable. Jesse Jackson is a racist, that’s all he thrives on. Has he ever had a real job in his life, other than trying to stir up racial tensions? What arrogance the Duncan family is showing, they smell money in a lawsuit, if there was no money to be gained, do you think they would be doing this? What about the nurse that is probably going to die of ebola, thanks to Duncan who has brought ebola to the U.S.

    This makes me sick.

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