Thomas Eric Duncan, the 42 year old Liberian who was diagnosed with the first Ebola case in the United States is now dead. Mr. Duncan died today at the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital at 7:51 am, after many days of being isolated and monitored at the hospital. He was at the center of a general health scare in the US, and his Ebola case was given wide national and international media coverage because of the conditions surrounding it.
Duncan had contracted the Ebola disease after helping a pregnant Ebola patient, Marthalene Williams, 19, to the hospital in Monrovia, Liberia. Williams had been rejected by a Liberian hospital and had eventually died; this was a day before Duncan boarded a plane to meet with his estranged wife in the US. Duncan had eventually arrived the US and reunited with his family but soon started developing Ebola symptoms and was eventually isolated and everyone that had contacts with him also isolated in another part of town.
The Dallas DA had been considering instituting a legal action against Thomas Duncan if he ever recovered from his condition over what he called assault with a deadly weapon. He was to be charged for intent to knowingly infect Americans with the Ebola disease following discovery that he lied on the documents he earlier provided the Presbyterian hospital in Dallas. Respected human rights activist, Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. had arrived Dallas on the invitation of Duncan’s family members to be of support, and the reverend had been meeting with state officials to rally support for the Ebola victim, and even planning to hold a vigil for prayers for him.
But now, all that is gone with the sudden death of Thomas Eric Duncan. Medical personnel had been struggling to support his fluid and electrolyte levels to ensure speedy recovery, and he had even been treated with Brincidofovir, an experimental antiviral drug that is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use on emergency conditions.
According to the commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services, Dr. David Lakey, “the past week has been an enormous test of our health system, but for one family it has been far more personal. Today they lost a dear member of their family. They have our sincere condolences, and we are keeping them in our thoughts.” And the mayor of Dallas, Mike Rawlings, also offered some assurance to Dallas residents, “I remain confident in the abilities of our health care professionals and the medical advances here in the U.S., and reassure you we will stop the Ebola virus in its tracks from spreading into our community.”