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.