The hospital that treated the first Ebola patient diagnosed in the United States before he died will pay his family an unspecified amount, an attorney for his relatives announced Wednesday.
In addition, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas said it has agreed to create a foundation honoring Thomas Duncan, the Liberian man who was diagnosed with Ebola in September.
Texas Health Presbyterian also apologized again to Duncan’s family for the errors made during his treatment. Duncan had first gone to this hospital on Sept. 25 with a fever and told medical workers he had traveled from Africa to the United States. Despite this, he was released and sent home, which delayed his treatment for nearly three days and meant he was around people during a period when he had symptoms and was contagious.
Duncan returned to the hospital and was isolated for two days before being diagnosed with Ebola on Sept. 30. He died eight days later, becoming the only person to die from the virus so far in the United States. The hospital had also apologized last month for the mistake it made during this period.
“We know that this has been a terribly sad, difficult and trying time for Mr. Duncan’s family and friends, and they will continue to be in the hearts and prayers of the entire Texas Health Presbyterian family,” the hospital said in a statement Wednesday.
Josephus Weeks, Duncan’s nephew, said Wednesday that everyone makes mistakes and thanked the hospital for owning up to their errors.
“I believe that this facility is an outstanding facility,” Weeks said during the same news conference Wednesday, adding that he would trust the hospital enough to seek treatment there if he was ill.
The memorial fund created in Duncan’s honor is intended to provide assistance to Ebola victims in West Africa, the hospital said. The outbreak there has killed 5,160 people and continues to infect many more, according to numbers released by the World Health Organization on Wednesday.
The settlement announced Wednesday ends “any claims” that any family member could make regarding Duncan’s treatment, Les Weisbrod, an attorney for Duncan’s relatives, said during a news conference Wednesday morning. He said that the precise amount of the settlement will remain confidential, But he said it would help take care of Duncan’s four children and his parents.
This settlement will not extend to Louis Troh, Duncan’s fiancee, Weisbrod said.
“The law in the state of Texas and everywhere would require that there be an actual spouse to recover or that it be a child or a parent of a deceased,” Weisbrod said. “With regard to a malpractice claim, she doesn’t have any legal right.”
Troh is struggling in the wake of Duncan’s diagnosis and her prolonged quarantine, she told the Associated Press. She was unable to find a home and said that the saga “destroyed my whole life.”