Hospital apologizes to U.S. family of Liberian man who died of Ebola

DALLAS, Oct 16 (Reuters) - The Texas hospital that cared for Liberian national Thomas Eric Duncan, who died last week of the Ebola virus, apologized to his family on Thursday for being unable to save his life, the family said.

Duncan’s fiancée, Louise Troh, 54, said in a statement she received a call from a top official at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, who said the hospital was “deeply sorry” for the way Duncan’s case was handled.

The hospital has said it made a mistake discharging Duncan after he first came to the facility on Sept. 25, saying he was ill and had been in Liberia, one of the Ebola-hit counties in West Africa. Duncan, who was visiting his family in the United States, was later taken back to the hospital by ambulance on Sept. 28 and died on Oct. 8.

“I am grateful to God that this leader reached out and took responsibility for the hospital’s actions. Hearing this information will help me as I mourn Eric’s death,” Troh said.

The hospital confirmed it apologized to Troh.

In a previous statement, Troh called for a thorough examination of his care.

Since Duncan’s death, two nurses who cared for him have tested positive for Ebola despite wearing protective gear. More than 70 other healthcare providers who had contact with Duncan while he was in an isolation unit are being monitored for the virus and are unable to work.

Duncan’s nephew Josephus Weeks wrote an article in the Dallas Morning News on Tuesday that his family was angry at the hospital for releasing Duncan back into the community for two days with a contagious virus.

“In time, we may learn why my uncle’s initial visit to the hospital was met with such incompetence and insensitivity,” Weeks wrote.

Troh, her 13-year-old son, and two relatives of Duncan have been in mandatory quarantine at an undisclosed location within the city limits for nearly three weeks. Their isolation is scheduled to end on Sunday if they continue to be asymptomatic.

Troh’s family has said it will pay its respects to Duncan after the quarantine ends. (Writing by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Peter Cooney)