Fox Across Texas - September 5th

Dallas hospital not prepared

DALLAS (AP) — The Texas hospital that treated the first person diagnosed in the U.S. with Ebola was not adequately prepared for a patient with the deadly virus and stumbled because of communication failures, an independent review released Friday found.

Liberian emigre Thomas Eric Duncan first arrived at Texas Health Presbyterian Dallas on September 25, complaining of a headache and nausea. Although his fever reached 103 degrees during that initial four-hour visit, according to medical records shared with The Associated Press, hospital staff misdiagnosed him with sinusitis and sent him home, even after learning that he had recently arrived from Africa.

The report, the first outside review of the hospital's response, was conducted by a panel of four physicians and one nurse and led by a former chief executive of the Mayo Clinic. It comes amid a lawsuit by Nina Pham, one of two nurses who contracted Ebola while caring for Duncan, who died in October. The suit alleges the hospital's parent company, Texas Health Resources, failed to provide training and proper protective gear.

The report found that communications at the hospital were inconsistent, such as when Duncan's travel history gathered by a nurse was not verbally communicated to a physician.

It also faults the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which it says failed to prepare the hospital in the use of personal protective equipment, waste management and "other challenges that would emerge as critical."

Texas Health Resources received a copy of the report ahead of its release. Chief Executive Barclay Berdan in response to its findings echoed criticisms the hospital made last fall of CDC, saying that the agency's role was unclear and its guidelines insufficient. The review pointed out that CDC personnel did not arrive in Dallas until three days after Duncan was admitted to the hospital for a second time. According to CDC spokeswoman Kathy Harben, a team arrived in Dallas within hours of Duncan's positive Ebola test result.

"The advice from CDC was that any community hospital could take care of a patient with the Ebola virus," Berdan said. But, he added, the review's panelists thought it was "critical the CDC better communicate their role."

Since the Ebola crisis last fall, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has designated nine regional hospitals as Ebola treatment centers.

CDC has also updated its guidelines, recommending that hospitals be prepared to stabilize patients with Ebola before they are transferred to a regional Ebola treatment center for long-term care.


West Nile virus death

EL PASO, Texas (AP) — An El Paso-area woman has become the second person in the West Texas city's area this year to die of West Nile virus.

City health officials say the woman was the fourth person in the area to have contracted the mosquito-borne virus in 2015.

Fifteen cases, but no deaths, were reported last year. The most severe West Nile outbreak around El Paso was in 2012, when 32 people contracted the virus and six died.

El Paso Public Health Director Robert Resendes tells the El Paso Times ( ) that while the two people who now have died this year also had other medical problems, the virus also can threaten the lives of healthy people.

While most people recover, there's no known vaccine against the virus.


Jury Duty

DALLAS (AP) — Being commander in chief didn't stop former President George W. Bush from being called for jury duty at a Dallas courthouse. Bush spokesman Freddy Ford confirmed Bush's appearance. He was whisked away by Secret Service agents after not being chosen for the jury panel.


Arson suspected in car fire outside Texas Capitol

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — State investigators are seeking a 'person of interest' for questioning in a car fire outside the Texas Capitol suspected to have been deliberately set.

The 2 p.m. Friday fire involved a car parked inside a secure lot on the Capitol's south side. Austin Fire Department units extinguished the fire, which the State Fire Marshal's Office is investigating as arson.

The Texas Department of Public Safety, which is in charge of Capitol security, said in a statement that it's seeking clues to the identity and whereabouts of a man said to be a "person of interest." An image from a security camera shows a white man with a light beard dressed in a black T-shirt, purple shorts and a camouflage baseball cap.