DALLAS, Nov 12 (Reuters) - The family of Thomas Eric Duncan, the only person to die of Ebola in the United States, said on Wednesday it had reached a settlement with the hospital that had treated him and admitted to making mistakes in addressing his care.
The settlement includes financial support for Duncan's family but the amounts were not revealed. Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital also said it is creating a memorial fund in his honor to help Ebola victims in Africa.
"We have wrapped this up," family lawyer Les Weisbrod told reporters, adding the family will not be billed for Duncan's care. "The size and details of the settlement are confidential."
A suit against the Dallas hospital faced long odds due to the state's regulations on malpractice suits that have made it one of the hardest places in the United States to sue over medical errors, especially those that occur in the emergency room, according to plaintiffs' lawyers and legal experts.
The hospital said in a statement the settlement "serves as an example of the common-sense Texas laws that allow discussions to take place immediately and be resolved quickly."
Two days after he was discharged, Duncan had to be carted back to the same hospital by ambulance, and became the first person in the United States to be diagnosed with the virus. He was placed in an isolation unit and died 10 days after being admitted.
The settlement will provide financial support for Duncan's four children, his mother, Nowai Korkoyah, who lives in North Carolina, and his father, Jacob Duncan, who lives in Liberia.
The hospital had previously apologized to Duncan's family for not being able to save his life and said it made a mistake by initially discharging him.
There's good news in Texas: The Lone Star State is officially Ebola-free.
The final hospital worker being monitored for potential Ebola exposure was cleared on Friday, according to the Washington Post, giving the state a clean bill of health with regard to the virus.
The numbers: Over six weeks of worry (and, it often seemed, outright panic), Texas treated three people who had been infected with Ebola.
The first was Liberian man Thomas Duncan, who flew into Dallas and was later sent to Texas Health Presbyterian Dallas hospital, where two nurses working on him also contracted the disease. Duncan died, but the two nurses — Amber Vinson and Nina Pham — are alive and well.
In total, 177 people in Texas were monitored for the virus. The Ebola-free designation leaves only one person in the United States with the disease — Craig Spencer, a doctor in New York. He's expected to be released from the hospital soon, according to the Washington Post.
Bigger deal elsewhere: The United States has had relatively few actual cases of Ebola given the freak-out that's ensued. The vast majority of deaths came from western Africa, where 4,960 people have died from the disease as of Nov. 4.
Most of the 14,000 cases have been in Liberia, where 2,766 people have died. That's followed by Sierra Leone with 1,130 deaths, Guinea with 1,054 and Nigeria with eight.
African business leaders announced at a conference in Ethiopia today that they are contributing $28.5 million to continuing the fight against the disease. It's the latest in a series of high-profile private donations, which have bolstered contributions from the United Nations as well as individual countries.
New York City doctor with Ebola reportedly lied about his movements in city
The New York City doctor who became infected with the Ebola virus last week initially lied to health officials about his movements around the city after he returned from treating victims of the disease in West Africa, according to a published report.
The New York Post, citing law enforcement sources, reported that Dr. Craig Spencer initially told investigators that he had self-quarantined in his Harlem apartment. According to the paper, Spencer's story fell apart after investigators checked his credit-card statement and information from his Metrocard.
Spencer, 33, returned to New York from Guinea on Oct. 17 and was rushed to Bellevue Hospital Center on the morning of Oct. 23 with fatigue, nausea, and a 100-degree fever. In the intervening period, he traveled on three of the city's most heavily-trafficked subway lines, visited the High Line park and a Greenwich Village restaurant in lower Manhattan, and went for a three-mile run before going bowling at an alley in Brooklyn the day before he was hospitalized.
Spencer didn't admit the extent of his travels until a New York police officer "got on the phone and had to relay questions to him through the Health Department," the Post quoted a source as saying.
The doctor had spent the month prior to his return treating people with the deadly virus as a volunteer for Doctors Without Borders in West Africa. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday that Spencer's condition remains serious but stable. No infection has been found in his fiancee but she remains under quarantine at the couple's Harlem home. No one else has been reported as infected, and city health officials said New Yorkers should not be alarmed about contracting the disease.
More than 4,900 Ebola deaths have been reported this year during the current epidemic, nearly all of them in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
I haven't been thinking about this Ebola situation at all, but last night I had a dream I was in Africa and they were showing me a cheap, quick way to check my temperature. It was 101. Then they made me go inside a building and locked me in there.
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