NBC News has reported that Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, died Wednesday morning, the Dallas hospital where he was being treated said.
Duncan, 42, was given the experimental Ebola drug brincidofovir, but his family said he was doing poorly and the hospital had downgraded his condition from serious to critical. When the family visited Tuesday with the Rev. Jesse Jackson, they declined to view him via video link because the last time had been too upsetting.
“What we saw was very painful. It didn’t look good,” said Duncan’s nephew Josephus Weeks.
Duncan may have contracted the virus in Liberia while taking a deathly ill neighbor to the hospital in a taxi. He left Monrovia on a Sept. 19 flight and arrived in the U.S. the next day. He started showing symptoms Sept. 24 and went to a Dallas hospital for treatment Sept. 26. He was sent home, only to be brought back by ambulance on Sept. 28 and diagnosed with the deadly virus.
“It is with profound sadness and heartfelt disappointment that we must inform you of the death of Thomas Eric Duncan this morning at 7:51 am,” Texas Health Resources spokesman Wendell Watson said in a statement. “We have offered the family our support and condolences at this difficult time.”
Dr. David Lakey of the Texas Department of State Health Services called the past week “an enormous test of our health system” and offered condolences to the family. “The doctors, nurses and staff at Presbyterian provided excellent and compassionate care, but Ebola is a disease that attacks the body in many ways. We’ll continue every effort to contain the spread of the virus and protect people from this threat.”