Settlement reached in Texas Ebola death case
(CNN) — The family of Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian national who died of Ebola at a Texas hospital, has reached a confidential settlement with Texas Health Resources, according to family attorney Les Weisbrod.
In September, Duncan traveled to Texas from Liberia and began experiencing Ebola symptoms which prompted him to go to the emergency room at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas. He was misdiagnosed and sent home, both the Duncan family and Texas health authorities have said. Duncan was hospitalized days later, tested for Ebola and then began receiving care.
Part of the settlement, Weisbrod said, entailed honoring Duncan’s memory with the creation of a memorial fund intended to raise money that will go to help victims of Ebola in West Africa where the virus has hit communities the hardest.
“We know that this has been a terribly sad, difficult and trying time for Mr. Duncan’s family and friends, and they will continue to be in the hearts and prayers of the entire Texas Health Presbyterian family,” the hospital said in a statement about the settlement.
The Texas Health Dallas Thomas Eric Duncan Memorial Fund, which Weisbrod said would be described in detail later, will be run by a Duncan family member and Texas Health Resources, according to the lawyer.
Josephus Weeks, Duncan’s nephew, will be helping to oversee the fund, he and Weisbrod told reporters at a press conference at the attorney’s Dallas office.
The attorney also said that the Duncan family received a private letter of apology from Texas Health Resources.
“As part of the healing process, we have again extended our sincere apologies to the family and shared our regret that the diagnosis of Ebola Virus Disease was not made at the time of Mr. Duncan’s initial Emergency Department visit,” the hospital statement said.
Weeks praised Texas Health officials for trying to make “this situation a better situation.”
“We lost one but we can save a thousand,” Weeks said, referring to people he hoped the foundation would be able to assist.
There have been 13,268 reported Ebola cases in eight affected countries since the Ebola outbreak began, with 4,960 reported deaths, according to the World Health Organization.
The vast majority of these cases have been in three West African countries — Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Duncan is the only known patient out of nine who has been treated in the United States to die of the virus in the U.S.