Hospital Blames Tech Flaw For Ebola Patient Error

Friday, October 3rd 2014, 10:02 am

By: News 9

Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital officials said a flaw in the way the electronic records interacted between the nurse who questioned Thomas Eric Duncan and the doctor who treated him led to the miscommunication that enabled Duncan to go home after his first visit to the emergency room last week.

They said that flaw has now been fixed. But the fallout from that mistake is far from over.

Duncan was the first Ebola patient to be diagnosed in the United States. A court ordered four people not to leave the apartment where Duncan stayed before he was hospitalized. The apartment was decontaminated by hazmat crews.

Parts of the complex were power-washed and food and necessities were delivered. One of the residents who has been quarantined came out briefly to bring the supplies inside.

Wilfored Smallwood is Duncan's half-brother. His 21-year-old son is one of the people inside the apartment.

"I said, 'Is everything OK?' He said, 'We are hiding out. We have food. Everything is OK. We are here, we are fine,"' Smallwood said.

Access to the apartment complex has been limited to law enforcement, health workers and the people who live there.

"We have different nationalities, we have different language barriers that we are trying to work with," property manager Sally Nuran said.

David Mbusa is upset that testing hasn't been extended to more residents.

"Everybody should be diagnosed here," he said.

Mbusa said he thinks everyone should be screened but said it hasn't happened yet.

Texas health officials said the number of people who had direct or indirect contact with Duncan has grown to approximately 100. That includes three more children who were removed from school Thursday.

Duncan remains in isolation at Texas Health Presbyterian, but if he recovers, he could face legal problems in his home country.

Liberian officials released a copy of the passenger health screening form Duncan filled out before boarding his flight from Liberia to the U.S. They believe he lied when he answered "no" to questions about whether he had contact with anyone infected with Ebola.

Liberian officials said Duncan had tried to help transport a sick neighbor to the hospital just days earlier. That woman later died from Ebola.

"He's gone there and sort of, in a way, put some Americans in a state of fear," Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said.

It's unclear if Duncan knew the woman he helped was infected with Ebola, but Liberian officials believe he did and said they plan to prosecute him.

That's if he survives. Duncan remains in serious condition in the hospital.


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