In the midst of the internationally known Ebola scare, a Texas hospital sent a Liberian patient home with infection like symptoms, with no testing, after learning he had just come from disease ravaged West Africa. In doing so, the hospital's medical mistake needlessly endangered the lives of at least 46 people living in the Dallas community. Had the hospital followed basic protocol, if not simple common sense, the patient would have never been discharged.
First discovered in 1976, Ebola is a rare and deadly disease caused by infection with one of the Ebola virus strains. Ebola viruses are found in several African countries, including Liberia, which can strike humans and nonhuman primates. After over 3,000 reported deaths in Africa, the first known case Ebola arrived in the US last month.
On September 25, 2014, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas received a Liberian patient named Thomas Duncan. While taking Mr. Duncan's history, the 42-year-old male reported complaints of fever, abdominal pain, and headaches after recently arriving from Ebola stricken West Africa. Rather than run federally mandated tests for Ebola on patients with such symptoms, the hospital discharged Mr. Duncan back to the community assuming he had a low level infection. After Mr. Duncan returned to the hospital two days later with worsened symptoms, test results revealed Mr. Duncan has Ebola.