The system that owns the Dallas hospital treating the first case of Ebola diagnosed in the U.S. late Friday retreated from an earlier statement that a flaw in the electronic health-record system had led to miscommunication between nurses and doctors resulting in the patient being sent home after being evaluated in its emergency department.
Officials at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas initially said a communication breakdown was responsible for clinicians releasing Thomas Eric Duncan after he came to the ED on the evening of Sept. 25 showing symptoms of Ebola, only to be admitted and placed in isolation on Sept. 28 after his symptoms worsened.
In a statement issued Thursday, Texas Health Resources, the hospital's parent company, said some caregivers were aware of the patient's travel history, but cited a workflow issue with its EHR system in sharing 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.”
THR issued another statement Friday night backing off that explanation, however. “As a standard part of the nursing process, the patient's travel history was documented and available to the full care team in the electronic health record (EHR), including within the physician's workflow,” the statement read. “There was no flaw in the EHR in the way the physician and nursing portions interacted related to this event.”