The PJ Tatler

Family of Dallas Ebola Patient Zero Gets Settlement with Texas Presbyterian Hospital

This is odd, though it probably prevents an expensive lawsuit from going to trial.

Thomas Eric Duncan is known to have lied on his exit forms when he left Liberia to come to the United States. Once he became symptomatic with Ebola, at Texas Presbyterian in Dallas, he admitted that he had recently been to the hot zone but evidently still did not admit that he had been exposed to the virus.

Those choices exposed many to Ebola, and two of the nurses who treated him came down with the disease. They survived, thankfully.

Duncan’s family lawyered up and threatened to sue the hospital, and now according to the Dallas Morning News they have reached a settlement with the hospital.

Relatives of Thomas Eric Duncan announced a settlement Wednesday with the company that owns Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, where he died of Ebola after an initial misdiagnosis.

“We all make mistakes,” Duncan’s nephew Josephus Weeks said at a press conference announcing the settlement.

Monetary terms of the deal remain confidential, but Duncan’s family will benefit and some of the funds will create the Texas Health Dallas Thomas Eric Duncan Memorial Fund to help treat Ebola victims in Liberia, the epicenter of the crisis.

Some details of the settlement were announced by lawyers at Miller Weisbrod, a firm working with the family. Attorney Les Weisbrod said Duncan’s family won’t be charged for the care he received.

“The errors in this case happened regardless of race and regardless of insurance coverage,” Weisbrod said, contradicting past statements by the family.

Note the bold. That’s a big climb down. The race hustlers who echoed that claim ought to be forced to retract, but we all know that won’t happen.

It doesn’t look like Duncan’s family are cashing in. They shouldn’t. Instead, they are having to admit through their attorney that their racism charges were false, their claims that he was misdiagnosed because of race or lack of insurance were false, and that the hospital isn’t really liable for the misdiagnosis.

They’re not being forced to admit that Duncan was to blame, but that’s implied by the settlement. The main monetary part of the settlement apparently isn’t going to them, but to Liberia to fight Ebola. They “benefit” apparently by not having to pay Duncan’s hospital bill, which was probably enormous. But the family gets to save a little face in exchange for retracting their false claims.

That’s not a bad settlement. The hospital would never have collected on the charges for Duncan’s care anyway. The company that owns the hospital has to absorb that, and we the taxpayers probably get to pick up some of it too. Which is annoying, but hard to avoid.