“I want to see them treated as I would want my own family treated,” said Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, the county's top elected official, adding that he visited the family Thursday night to personally apologize for the way the situation has been handled. “We are making efforts to make sure that their accommodations and their comfort improves.”
Duncan is being treated at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, which said on Friday that he remained in serious condition. He arrived in the U.S. on Sept. 20 from Liberia to visit family members living in Texas. The New York Times has reported that four days before his trip he helped carry a pregnant woman near the capital city of Monrovia who was convulsing from the disease.
Hospital officials have said a communication breakdown was responsible for clinicians releasing Duncan after he came to the emergency department on the evening of Sept. 25, only to be admitted and placed in isolation on Sept. 28 after his symptoms worsened.
Texas Health Resources, the parent company of the hospital, issued a statement late Thursday providing new details regarding Duncan's initial visit to the emergency department.
In it they state that Duncan, when asked, said he had not been in contact with anyone sick in Africa, and that a nurse did enter his travel information into the hospital's electronic health-record system but that separate workflows for doctors and nurses prevented physicians from seeing the information.
“Protocols were followed by both the physician and the nurses,” the statement read. “However, we have identified a flaw in the way the physician and nursing portions of our electronic health records interacted in this specific case.”
Duncan is the first positive diagnosis for Ebola made in the U.S. More than 6,500 people throughout Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal and Sierra Leone have been infected since March, according to the World Health Organization, which has resulted in more than 3,000 deaths.
Follow Steven Ross Johnson on Twitter: @MHsjohnson