HOUSTON, Texas — Newly released medical records show that Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian man who brought Ebola into the U.S., denied having any sick contacts when he visited the Emergency Room at Dallas’ Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital on September 28.
The medical records, which were provided to the Associated Press, claim that Duncan told Dr. Otto Javier Marquez-Kerguelen he had no sick contacts.
Marquez-Kerguelen wrote in the records, “I followed strict CDC protocol. Pt states he has not been to any rural areas or funerals recently. Pt denies any sick contacts.”
Assuming that what Marquez-Kerguelen wrote is true, Duncan lied to medical staff about not having “sick contacts.” Subsequent to his diagnosis, it was revealed that the Liberian man had direct contact with an Ebola patient in his home country just days before boarding a plane headed for the United States. More specifically, he helped carry a pregnant woman on the verge of death back to her home from a Liberian hospital; she had been turned away due to overcrowding in Ebola treatment facilities.
Duncan’s family, as well as activists like Jesse Jackson, have insisted that the hospital did not treat Duncan fairly due to his skin color; they have asserted that had Duncan been white, he would have survived the virus.
But facts revealed in the newly surfaced medical records call into question how honest Duncan was with medical professionals at Texas Health Presbyterian. If Duncan stated that he had not come in contact with anyone sick, doctors would naturally be less inclined to believe that he had Ebola; this could have contributed to a delay in the Duncan’s diagnosis.
Follow Kristin Tate on Twitter @KristinBTate.