DALLAS, Texas — An apology letter has been issued from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas apologizing for mistakes made in handling the United States’ first diagnosis of Ebola on U.S. soil.
The letter begins, “As those of us who live in North Texas know all too well, recent weeks have brought a new menace to our doorstep: the Ebola virus. As an institution whose daily mission is to care for people and their families, we are devastated that our patient Thomas Eric Duncan lot his struggle with Ebola, and that Nina Pham and Amber Vinson, members of our hospital family who courageously cared for Mr. Duncan, now battle the virus as well.”
The letter’s writer, Texas Health Resources CEO Barclay Berdan continued, “I am grateful to our team of caregivers for their dedication, compassion and tireless work in caring for these individuals and every patient who enters our doors. At the same time, I know that, as an institution, we made mistakes in handling this very difficult challenge.”
The letter states, “the fact that Mr. Duncan had traveled to Africa was not communicated effectively among the care team, though it was in his medical chart. On that visit to the Emergency Department, we did not correctly diagnose his symptoms as those of Ebola. For this, we are deeply sorry.”
In order to improve, “we have conducted specialized training for taking Personal Protective Equipment on and off, and are using the best practices “buddy system” for staff to monitor proper technique with regard to the Ebola procedures established by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). We have made changes in our system of electronic medical records to assist in the accurate diagnosis of any future Ebola case.
Recently however, the CDC has indicated that new guidelines for Ebola will be issued very soon. Whether this changes the training on Ebola for hospital employees is not yet known.
Berdan continued, “Dallas County Health and Human Services is actively monitoring the medical staff and other employees, based on level of risk and exposure as defined by the CDC, who may have had contact with any of the Ebola patients we have treated.”
“Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas is a safe place for employees and patients.” the letter went on to say.
CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden, at one point suggested blame of one of Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan’s nurse for her contamination, Breitbart previously reported. Berdan’s letter states, “Many are speculating about how Ms. Pham and Ms. Vinson, both skilled and careful nurses, became infected despite their compliance with the CDC’s protective equipment and safety procedures.”
The hospital states, “we have remained committed to complying with CDC guidelines from the start; we believe our procedures complied with the CDC Ebola guidelines and our staff implemented them diligently.”
As the hub of the first cases of Ebola in the U.S., Texas Presbyterian’s letter indicated though they hoped these were the last cases that will occur in the country, “that may not be so.”
Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana
Breitbart Texas’ Bob Price contributed to this report.