Medical News

Dallas Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan dies

Dallas Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan dies

The first U.S. case of Ebola has ended in death. In a statement, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital confirmed that Thomas Eric Duncan died October 8.

Duncan had been hospitalized since September 28 and was undergoing an experimental treatment at the time of his death. Texas Health Presbyterian issued the following statement:

It is with profound sadness and heartfelt disappointment that we must inform you of the death of Thomas Eric Duncan this morning at 7:51 a.m. Mr. Duncan succumbed to an insidious disease, Ebola. He fought courageously in this battle. Our professionals, the doctors and nurses in the unit, as well as the entire Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas community, are also grieving his passing. We have offered the family our support and condolences at this difficult time.

Duncan left Liberia on September 19 and arrived in the United States on September 20 to visit relatives. He fell ill on September 24 and sought medical care at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital on September 26. After developing symptoms consistent with Ebola, he was admitted to the hospital on September 28.

His condition had been downgraded to critical on October 4, and he began receiving brincidofovir, an experimental antiviral drug that had gained emergency approval from the FDA.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins released a statement, saying his thoughts were with Duncan's family and friends, "especially his fiancee Louse, her son Karsiah and all those who loved him," he said. "We are also thinking of the dedicated hospital staff who assisted Mr. Duncan daily while he fought this terrible disease."

Mayor Mike Rawlings also issued a statement, saying, "We will stop the Ebola virus in its tracks in our community."

Duncan's illness provoked some controversy, particularly regarding the clean-up of the apartment where he was staying. It took three days before an appropriately equipped hazmat crew was able to decontaminate the apartment, which had soiled sheets and clothes. Duncan's girlfriend's family was required to remain quarantined until October 19.

There were also delays in the cleanup at five Dallas ISD schools where five students had contact with Duncan. The students stopped going to school on October 1 and have shown no symptoms, but two supervisors were placed on administrative leave

The Texas Department of State Health Services said it would follow CDC guidelines for handling Duncan's remains. The detailed instructions include sealing his body in two bags for transport and cremating the body.

According to state officials, Duncan's family agreed to cremation. The process will kill any virus and allow the remains to be returned to his next of kin.

Ebola virus
Ebola strain Photo courtesy of CDC