Blog Posts by Jason Sickles, Yahoo

  • Dallas hospital exec on Ebola crisis: 'We are deeply sorry'

    Doctor will tell Congress that mistakes were made, lessons learned

    Dr. Daniel Varga, chief clinical officer at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital. (AP/LM Otero)Dr. Daniel Varga, chief clinical officer at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital. (AP/LM Otero)

    DALLAS — A top official at the Texas hospital where Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan died and two nurses contracted the deadly virus is apologizing to Congress for his facility’s “mistakes” in handling the highly contagious disease.

    A transcript of testimony by Dr. Daniel Varga, chief clinical officer of the hospital’s parent chain Texas Health Resources, is expected to be presented at noon Thursday before the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.

    Thomas Eric Duncan in 2011 (Courtesy photo)Thomas Eric Duncan in 2011 (Courtesy photo)“Unfortunately, in our initial treatment of Mr. Duncan, despite our best intentions and a highly skilled medical team, we made mistakes,” Varga’s testimony reads. “We did not correctly diagnose his symptoms as those of Ebola. We are deeply sorry.”

    Because he cannot attend the hearing, Varga’s remarks were posted on a federal government website on Wednesday.

    Texas Health is a faith-based, nonprofit organization consisting of 25 acute-care and short-stay hospitals. Varga, who was paid $500,000 in

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  • Second Dallas nurse with Ebola was on Frontier Airlines Flight 1143

    Nurse reported fever before flight, but wasn't ‘told she couldn't fly’

    DALLAS – A second nurse who cared for Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan has been diagnosed with the deadly disease — a day after flying from Ohio to Texas, officials said.

    CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden said during a national news conference on Wednesday that Dallas nurse Amber Joy Vinson “was in a group of individuals known to have exposure to Ebola, she should not have traveled on a commercial airline.”

    But according to multiple news reports, Vinson phoned the CDC before leaving Ohio to report she had an elevated fever of 99.5 degrees and would be flying back to Dallas. Vinson wasn't “told she couldn't fly,”  an unidentified CDC source told ABC News.

    “Somebody dropped the ball,” CBS News quoted one health official as saying.

    Vinson, who was in Ohio last weekend to plan her wedding, was not experiencing symptoms when she made the flight from Cleveland to Dallas-Fort Worth late Monday, Frieden said.

    About 24 hours later Vinson, 29, was placed in isolation at Texas Health Presbyterian.

    Dallas nurse Amber Vinson in a photo from high school. (Akron Public Schools)Dallas nurse Amber Vinson in a photo from high school. (Akron Public Schools)

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  • Feds could have done more in Dallas Ebola case, CDC director says

    Rapid-response teams to be deployed to U.S. hospitals

    CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden during an Ebola briefing on Tuesday. (David Tulis/AP/Atlanta Journal Constitution) CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden during an Ebola briefing on Tuesday. (David Tulis/AP/Atlanta Journal Constitution)

    DALLAS — Ebola has haunted Dallas for two weeks, killing one man and infecting a nurse who was treating him.

    In hindsight — CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden said on Tuesday — the nation’s health protection agency should have stepped in and taken control when the country’s first Ebola case emerged in Dallas.

    “Getting it right is really, really important because the stakes are so high,” Frieden said during a news conference. “We could have sent a more robust hospital infection control team and been more hands on with the hospital from Day One about how this should be managed.”

    Thomas Eric Duncan died from Ebola in Dallas on Oct. 8. (AP/Wilmot Chayee)Thomas Eric Duncan died from Ebola in Dallas on Oct. 8. (AP/Wilmot Chayee)

    From now on, Frieden said, the CDC will rush a team of infectious disease specialists to assist U.S. hospitals that confirm having a case of the deadly Ebola virus.

    “We will put a team on the ground within hours with some of the world's leading experts in how to take care of and protect health care workers from Ebola infection,” Frieden said. “I wish we had put a team like this on the ground the day the first patient

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  • Nina Pham identified as Dallas nurse diagnosed with Ebola

    CDC 'doubling down' on training at Texas hospital and others

    A hazardous materials worker looks up while finishing cleaning outside nurse Nina Pham's Dallas apartment. (AP Photo/LM Otero)A hazardous materials worker looks up while finishing cleaning outside nurse Nina Pham's Dallas apartment. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

    DALLAS The Texas nurse who contracted Ebola while caring for the first person to die of the virus in the U.S. has been identified as 26-year-old Nina Pham.

    Health officials have not released the nurse’s name, but Yahoo News identified Pham through public records and a state nursing database.

    Then on Monday, Pham’s family confirmed her identity to Dallas ABC News affiliate WFAA.

    Nina Pham in 2010, the year she graduated from Texas Christian University. (AP/Courtesy of tcu360.com)Nina Pham in 2010, the year she graduated from Texas Christian University. (AP/Courtesy of tcu360.com)Pham, a critical care nurse at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, is one of at least 50 to 70 people who cared for Thomas Eric Duncan before he died last Wednesday.

    Pham has been in isolation since late Friday. The CDC confirmed her Ebola diagnosis on Sunday. It is the first time the deadly virus has been transmitted in the United States.

    The Dallas resident graduated from Texas Christian University's accelerated nursing program in 2010, the school said in a statement. State records show Pham received her nursing license in June 2010.

    The CDC director, Dr. Thomas Frieden, said Pham is in stable condition at

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  • Texas hospital defends treatment of Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan

    Duncan did not wish to be resuscitated in the end, hospital says

    Thomas Eric Duncan died at Texas Health Presbyterian on Wednesday. (Jim Young/Reuters)Thomas Eric Duncan died at Texas Health Presbyterian on Wednesday. (Jim Young/Reuters)
    DALLAS The hospital where Thomas Eric Duncan died defended its treatment of the Ebola patient on Thursday, maintaining that he received “appropriate and available medical interventions.”

    “A team of more than 50 people cared for him in a professional and compassionate manner,” Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital said in a written statement. “An entire 24-bed intensive care unit was secured and dedicated to Mr. Duncan’s care.”

    Thomas Eric Duncan in 2011 (AP)Thomas Eric Duncan in 2011 (AP)

    The hospital has been scrutinized from the beginning for failing to diagnosis Duncan’s Ebola when he came to their emergency room on Sept. 25. Instead, he was sent home with antibiotics, where he became sicker and likely more contagious.

    He returned in an ambulance three days later and was immediately placed in isolation. Test results on Sept. 30 confirmed the deadly virus, making Duncan the first person to ever be diagnosed with Ebola in the United States.

    The Liberian citizen who had traveled to Texas on Sept. 20 was in isolation for 10 days before passing away

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  • Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan's story of love and loss

    Pastor says couple 'built a castle of dreams in their hearts together'

    A prayer vigil and memorial was held for Thomas Eric Duncan at Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)A prayer vigil and memorial was held for Thomas Eric Duncan at Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

    DALLAS — Love, not Ebola, drove Thomas Eric Duncan from his native Liberia.

    Duncan — whose diagnosis and death has unleashed alarm about Ebola in the U.S. — was accused of lying on his travel forms to flee his diseased-ravaged country. Some faulted him for flying to Texas just days after assisting an ill neighbor in Monrovia, Liberia.

    Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan in 2011. (AP/Wilmot Chayee)Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan in 2011. (AP/Wilmot Chayee)The 42-year-old Duncan, who went by the name Eric,  likely contracted the disease from the neighbor, but friends in Dallas say he didn’t know the pregnant woman had Ebola. He believed she had miscarried, and he was just trying to help her family get her to a hospital.

    “The doctors took blood samples from her and told her she could go,” Saymendy Lloyd, a family friend, told the Dallas Morning News. “If he had known she had Ebola … he would not have put the love of his life in a situation like this.”

    Duncan, travelling on a visa, made his first trip to the U.S. to reunite with his estranged son and the teen's mother, Louise Troh, who had been his

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  • Feds issue rules for burying Ebola patients in the U.S.

    Liberian native Thomas Eric Duncan dies from Ebola virus in Dallas; health officials face new challenge in handling body that could stay contagious for days

    Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan died Wednesday morning at Texas Health Presbyterian in Dallas. (Reuters/Mike Stone)Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan died Wednesday morning at Texas Health Presbyterian in Dallas. (Reuters/Mike Stone)

    DALLAS – The first patient to be diagnosed with Ebola in the United States died from the disease Wednesday and now Texas health officials are facing a situation they have not before experienced: how to handle a body that could remain highly contagious for several days.

    Thomas Eric Duncan, 42, had been in isolation at Texas Health Presbyterian since Sept. 28. His death comes four days after his condition was downgraded from serious to critical.

    Duncan had been on a ventilator for several days and was receiving kidney dialysis. Last weekend he started receiving an experimental drug called brincidofovir. There is no known vaccine for the Ebola virus.

    Thomas Eric Duncan passed away Wednesday morning. (AP/Wilmot Chayee)Thomas Eric Duncan passed away Wednesday morning. (AP/Wilmot Chayee)

    Within hours of his death, the Texas Department of State Health Services said Duncan's body would be cremated using strict protocols recently issued by the federal government.

    “We will continue to treat Mr. Duncan with dignity and respect, and we're taking great care to make sure there is no additional risk that others could be infected,

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  • Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan dies at Dallas hospital

    Family: “I trust a thorough examination will take place regarding all aspects of his care”

    DALLAS — The first person to be diagnosed with Ebola in the United States died early Wednesday, officials with Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital announced.

    Thomas "Eric" Duncan, 42, passed away at 7:51 a.m., the hospital said.

    This hurts deeply, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said during a city council meeting. We were hoping this was not going to happen.

    Duncan, a Liberian citizen who recently traveled from West Africa to Dallas, had been in isolation at Texas Health Presbyterian for 10 days.

    He had come to Texas to reunite with an estranged son and the teen's mother, Louise Troh, who had been his girlfriend when she lived in Liberia. Troh is being kept in quarantine because she had contact with Duncan, but released a statement following his death.

    His suffering is over," Troh said. My family is in deep sadness and grief, but we leave him in the hands of God. Our deepest sympathies go out to his father and family in Liberia and here in America. Eric was a wonderful man who showed

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  • Dallas hospital retracts explanation for missed Ebola diagnosis

    Patient Thomas Duncan remains in isolation, condition downgraded to critical

    Texas Health Presbyterian has not addressed how it overlooked Thomas Eric Duncan as likely having Ebola. (REUTERS/Mike Stone) Click photo to view slideshow. Texas Health Presbyterian has not addressed how it overlooked Thomas Eric Duncan as likely having Ebola. (REUTERS/Mike Stone) Click photo to view slideshow.

    DALLAS – The Texas hospital that failed initially to identify and isolate the country’s first Ebola patient in its emergency room is now backtracking on its explanation for the error.

    Authorities at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas first said they had “thoroughly reviewed the chain of events” and blamed a flawed computer system for hospital staff's failure to recognize that Liberian native Thomas Eric Duncan was at high risk for the deadly disease.

    Late Friday – 24 hours after releasing the details in “in the interest of transparency” – the hospital modified its original explanation of what had happened. Revising the earlier account, officials said that Duncan’s travel history was visible to all in the hospital’s electronic health record (EHR) system.

    “There was no flaw in the EHR in the way the physician and nursing portions interacted related to this event,” the hospital said in a written statement.

    But as of Saturday afternoon, no other explanation for the oversight

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  • Texas hospital reveals how Ebola patient was overlooked

    Facility and patient are both to blame, Dallas officials say.

    Thomas Eric Duncan at a 2011 wedding in Ghana. (Wilmot Chayee/AP)Thomas Eric Duncan at a 2011 wedding in Ghana. (Wilmot Chayee/AP)
    DALLAS – A flawed computer system and untruthfulness by the patient led medical workers to mistakenly send a sick man home instead of isolating him for Ebola, a Texas hospital announced Thursday night.

    Officials with Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas said its emergency room staff followed protocol by obtaining the required information from Thomas Eric Duncan, including the fact that he had recently been in Ebola-ravaged West Africa.

    But the hospital’s electronic health-records system has two workflows: one for nurses and another for doctors.

    “As designed, the travel history would not automatically appear in the physician’s standard workflow,” Wendell Watson, the hospital’s public relations director, said in a written statement.

    Watson said the problem has been corrected.

    “It also has been modified to specifically reference Ebola-endemic regions in Africa,” Watson said. “We have made this change to increase the visibility and documentation of the travel question in order to

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Pagination

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