*Days after Thomas Eric Duncan became the first person to die from the Ebola virus in the United States, his nephew is questioning those who cared for him in his final days.
In an interview with the Associated Press, Duncan’s nephew, Josephus Weeks (pictured above), weighed in on his uncle’s passing, saying that his care was due to “either incompetence or negligence.”
Either way “there is a problem, and we need to find the answer to it,” he told the AP, adding that it was “conspicuous” that all the white Ebola patients in the U.S. survived “and the one black man died.”
Weeks’ comments come as questions linger surrounding the treatment Duncan received at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital after falling ill several days after arriving in the US on a recent flight from West Africa.
Unlike Duncan, other Ebola patients who recently received care in the U.S. have survived the virus. On Friday, the hospital maintained that it gave Duncan the best care possible under its circumstances as it released a statement saying it made procedural changes and continues to “review and evaluate” the decisions surrounding Duncan’s care. The
According to reports, Duncan displayed symptoms of Ebola as he carried a 103 degree fever as well as rated the pain he was in an 8 on a scale of 10.
Medical records obtained by the AP from Duncan’s family show that Duncan’s first visit to a Dallas emergency room ended with him being sent home with a prescription for antibiotics after undergoing a slew of tests. The records, which amount to more than 1,400 pages in all, also chronicle Duncan’s time in the ER, in addition to his urgent return to the hospital two days later and the steep decline in his health as his organs began to fail. Duncan died Wednesday.
In addition, the AP reports that stories surrounding the hospital’s account of what their medical team knew when it released Duncan on Sept. 26 changed repeatedly, among other items of dispute.
This comes amid an alert from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advising hospitals nationwide to take a travel history for patients with Ebola-like symptoms. Nevertheless, the hospital stated it made changes to its intake process and other practices “to better screen for all critical indicators” of Ebola.
A Texas Department of State Health Services spokeswoman revealed Friday that the said the agency was considering investigating the hospital for compliance with state health and safety laws.
Despite revealing that Duncan’s remains have been cremated, the spokeswoman did not say when, where or by whom. In addition to Duncan’s cremation, the AP mentioned that drums of potentially contaminated material taken from the apartment where he became ill was incinerated Friday at a hazardous material processing center in Port Arthur.
The revelations come with Friday’s announcement from the World Health Organization that the Ebola death toll had surpassed 4,000 confirmed, probable or suspected Ebola deaths. All but nine were in Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea, the agency stated.
“He’s the only person that has died from Ebola here in America,” Weeks told CNN’s “OutFront.” “He’s a black man. He’s poor, didn’t have insurance.
“Had that been another name, you know, or another color, he would probably be living today and he would have survived it,” Weeks said Friday. “And that’s what’s really hurting me the most is because they treated him the way they did because of the color of his skin, and that’s very upsetting and disturbing, and know that you stand a chance if you’re white, but you don’t if you’re black.”
To see Weeks interview with “OutFront,” check out the video below: