Ebola in Dallas

This isn’t encouraging:

A hospital in Dallas that diagnosed America’s first-ever known Ebola case also failed to recognize the patient’s Ebola potential when he first sought care, missing an opportunity to isolate him when he was already contagious.

The patient, Thomas Eric Duncan, had been visiting the US from Liberia. He left Monrovia on September 19 and traveled through Brussels, arriving in Dallas on September 20. He had no symptoms when he was departing Liberia or entering the US, which means he wouldn’t have been infectious at the time.

Four days later he started to feel ill, which means he would have been infectious. Two days after that, he sought care at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital. His was diagnosed with a “low grade, common viral infection” and sent home with an antibiotic.

The patient’s sister said that Duncan told a nurse that he had come from Liberia. This vital information “was not fully communicated throughout the full team,” said Mark C. Lester, executive vice president of the health-care system that includes Texas Health Presbyterian. “As a result, the full import of that information wasn’t factored into the clinical decision-making.” Ebola was not suspected.

I’m sure when he said he came from Liberia, the nurse had no idea where that was, and had no idea that’s where the outbreak is.

But, given that it’s Dallas and that the primary source of information is probably Fox News, had he said he had just come from Honduras, where the outbreak isn’t, the first thought would have been Ebola and the hospital would have gone code red. Because the good folks on Fox keep putting people on the air who say you have to keep the Central American refugee children out of the country because they’ll bring in Ebola.

The president’s funeral: Nov. 25, 1963

The nation is still in shock as it buries its youngest president. The end of four of the most tragic days in American history.

The Oswald assassination: Nov. 24, 1963

Fifty years ago today, I saw this live on television:

I think about it today and realize this was the first time I saw what today would be immediately identified as a terrorist being led to jail by police. And it was the first time I witnessed a murder.
Years pass, and you read things that say that when the Dallas police charged Lee Harvey Oswald with the murder of the president, they said it was because of a communist plot to overthrow the government. That was noted on a PBS “Frontline” report on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy:

NARRATOR: Less than one hour after the President was pronounced dead, police had arrested a suspect. Lee Harvey Oswald was a 24-year-old former Marine who had once defected to the Soviet Union. Only weeks earlier he had visited the Soviet and Cuban embassies.

JAMES P. HOSTY, FBI: The original complaint that the police department filed on Lee Oswald, around midnight on the 22nd of November, said that Lee Oswald did, “in furtherance of an international communist conspiracy, assassinate President John F. Kennedy.”

NARRATOR: That night, as Air Force One brought John Kennedy’s body home to Washington, the new president was afraid that Oswald’s apparent communist connections could spark an international crisis. President Johnson ordered the district attorney to drop any reference to a communist conspiracy.

Pres. LYNDON BAINES JOHNSON: This is a sad time for all people.

Mr. HOSTY: Johnson was fearful that if this had gotten out, it would inflame public opinion and could possibly lead to World War III. This is exactly how World War I began, with an assassination.

This fear of World War III does make sense. The Cuban Missile Crisis was just a year earlier. In October 1962, people were convinced there was going to be a nuclear war. America’s right wing, led by members of the the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, wanted to invade Cuba.

The other thing that strikes me about the day is how totally incompetent the Dallas police were. Here’s a longer TV feed of the Oswald shooting.

No one checks ID. No one keeps people away from the transfer of the most hated man in America. And when he’s shot, the police just let reporters walk into the crime scene. It looks like anyone could walk in. Strike that. Jack Ruby, a strip club owner with mob connections and a gun did walk in and killed Oswald.

There was a “Prairie Home Companion” on recently broadcast from Dallas. One of the jokes was something along the lines of: “Here in Dallas, gun control is when you hold a gun real steady before you fire.”

In Dallas in 2013, that got a huge laugh. But all I could think when I heard the line was that in Dallas in 1963, a president was murdered. And in Dallas in 1963, the murderer of a president was murdered on national television.

Dallas was out of control.

Pictures from an assassination

When President John F. Kennedy was killed 50 years ago today, it didn’t happen on live TV. If something like that happened today, there would be thousands of videos taken on smart phones and uploaded on YouTube within minutes.

But people did film the assassination. Home movies. Polaroids. Snaps from Kodak Brownies. It was an overwhelmingly documented event in American history. But the video above from the New York Times by noted documentarian Errol Morris reveals that the video evidence was pretty much ignored by law enforcement on Nov. 22 and the days, the weeks, the months, the years thereafter.

The day John Kennedy died

It was 50 years ago today. This is how America found out about it from CBS:

And here’s what we saw on NBC:

Meanwhile, here are two hours on ABC.

I’ve seen the Cronkite clip before. NBC and ABC are new to me. I was in school at the time. Third grade. Someone talked to our teacher, then she said, “The president has been shot.” The girl in front of me asked: “Is he dead?”

No answer. We were sent home. It was a Friday. Just like it is today. I was eight years old, and I still remember that day and the days that followed.