Texas Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas announced recently that it has settled with the family of Thomas Eric Duncan, the first Ebola patient diagnosed in the United States.
“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,” Texas Presbyterian Hospital said in a statement.
In addition to a financial settlement, the hospital will create a charitable organization in Duncan’s name. Neither party divulged the amount of the settlement, but Texas caps malpractice awards for pain and suffering against a physician at $250,000 and damages against hospitals at $250,000 per hospital.
A representative for the Duncan family at a press conference announcing the settlement retracted previous allegations that the patient was treated poorly because of his race. The hospital recently provided information to The Washington Post and said that the initial news reports of Duncan’s first visit to the emergency department were misleading.
A hospital spokesman stated that Duncan told staff members he had been in Africa, not specifying West Africa, which would have triggered Ebola suspicions. In addition, Duncan’s fever was not 103 degrees, which is the threshold for Ebola protocols, when he first arrived, the spokesman said. His initial temperature was 100.1 degrees, but it rose to 103 degrees while he was present, the hospital spokesman said.