The Gruesome, non-Racist, Death of Thomas Duncan

The Gruesome, non-Racist, Death of Thomas Duncan

Family members, race hustlers, and pompous talking heads with visions of their own grandiosity (i.e., Geraldo Rivera), have been quick to blame poverty and racism as the reason for the death of the first patient diagnosed with Ebola on American soil. They seemed to forget the fact that a human being died a horrific, prolonged death marked by explosive diarrhea, vomiting, and massive organ failure.

Cost of medical care

It took less than a day for Thomas Duncan’s nephew, Josephus Weeks, to blame his uncle’s demise on race. Appearing on MSNBC with Ronan Farrow (an example of the Peter Principle, but I digress), Weeks claimed:

“We call, get hung up on, stay on hold for 30 minutes. Sometimes we call, get bounced around the hospital about 15 minutes get told we can’t speak. And after Reverend Jackson stepped in, and a lot of people started changing their minds and coming in to assist and, you know, more receptive to our needs.”

Of course Jesse Jackson’s going to get results — most respectable people don’t want to deal with a shakedown artist.

Add the mix of Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price, the omnipresent Jesse Jackson, and the insufferable Geraldo Rivera all bleating about ‘poverty’ and ‘racism,’ and it looks like a scandal emerging.

Except that it wasn’t. The inept handling of Thomas Duncan occurred partly due to hospital error, but also largely due to his own misstatements.

He arrived by ambulance at Texas Health Presbyterian in Dallas on September 28, about 55 hours after he had first been discharged after complaining of headache and abdominal pain. It was thought that he had sinusitis. The nurse’s note indicating that he had arrived from Liberia did not make it to the doctor on the first visit, but on Duncan’s return the news reached Dr. Otto Javier Marquez-Kerguelen. And that’s where Duncan’s own deceit entered. The doctor’s notes reveal the following:

“Pt states he has not been to any rural areas or funerals recently. Pt denies any sick contacts. Pt denies chills. The pt does not do (sic) any other associated signs of sx (symptoms) at this time.”

Possible diagnoses were proposed to be malaria, gastroenteritis, influenza, or Ebola. County officials and the Centers for Disease Control were notified.

By evening Duncan was suffering from abdominal pain, projectile vomiting, and explosive diarrhea; fortunately he had been contained in isolation by that time. It was not until the afternoon of September 30 that the positive diagnosis of Ebola was made.

Meantime, damage to the liver and kidneys, and fluctuating glucose levels kept doctors in a mad rush to save the patient. On October 1, sepsis had set in. On October 3, his condition turned dire, slipping into massive organ failure just after midnight on October 4.

Rather than sloughing off their African patient, however, doctors contacted Chimerix, a small pharmaceutical company, to send out their experimental antiviral drug brincidofovir. Thomas Duncan was given the drug on the morning of October 4. But the use of the drug was to no avail; on the morning of October 8, Thomas Duncan died. His body was cremated.

Yes, the hospital erred in not properly sharing information about Duncan’s Liberian origin the first time he was admitted. But had Thomas Duncan been upfront and honest in providing his recent history in Liberia, he may have received the treatment he needed in a more timely manner. Maybe he would’ve even survived.

And we the public wouldn’t be plagued by the likes of Jesse Jackson and Geraldo Rivera trying to stoke racist fires where none ever existed.

Written by

Kim is a pint-sized patriot who packs some big contradictions. She is a Baby Boomer who never became a hippie, an active Republican who first registered as a Democrat (okay, it was to help a sorority sister's father in his run for sheriff), and a devout Lutheran who practices yoga. Growing up in small-town Indiana, now living in the Kansas City metro, Kim is a conservative Midwestern gal whose heart is also in the Seattle area, where her eldest daughter, son-in-law, and grandson live. Kim is a working speech pathologist who left school system employment behind to subcontract to an agency, and has never looked back. She describes her conservatism as falling in the mold of Russell Kirk's Ten Conservative Principles. Don't know what they are? Google them!

  • AW1 Tim says:

    Well said, and well written.

    I blame the man’s death upon his own actions, his own refusal to be honest with those who asked him questions. Heck, his lies began even before he left Africa! Whether it was a state of denial, that “this can’t be happening to me!” or whether he knew he was likely infected and was just hoping it would “go away”, we’ll never really know.

    But the most disgusting thing about all of this is the way it’s being leveraged by race=hustlers like Jackson & Sharpton, morons like Geraldo, and anyone else who thinks they can make a dollar off of this man’s death.

  • Chris in N.Va. says:

    The unfortunate (and untruthful) victim was obviously too traumatized by Geo “W” Bush’s presidency (isn’t everyone?) to reveal any useful details that might have saved his life from his initial patient intake visit, ergo his death is directly and indisputably the fault of the Eeeeevil Bush and those heartless, budget-cutting Republicans!

    Ipso facto, slipso-with-the-facts-o conclusion.

    There ya go, Dem talking points for the upcoming election.

    You’re welcome.

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