Eric Duncan's Fiancee Struggles to Rebuild Life - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Continuing coverage of the Ebola virus in Dallas

Eric Duncan's Fiancee Struggles to Rebuild Life

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    The woman closest to Ebola patient, Eric Duncan, talked for the first time exclusively to NBC 5. Louise Troh sheds some light on exactly what happened when Duncan was rushed to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas. (Published Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014)

    For the first time since the death of her fiance Thomas Eric Duncan, Louise Troh spoke publicly Thursday about his hospitalization and treatment prior to his death from the Ebola virus on Oct. 8 in Dallas.

    In an off-camera interview with NBC 5, Troh, 54, said she was at work the night Duncan was rushed by ambulance to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. Troh said her daughter, who is a certified nurse’s assistant, was taking care of him at home.

    Her daughter said Duncan was not throwing up that night, but that he did suffer from diarrhea and had a temperature of 103 degrees. She told the paramedics that he had just traveled from a viral country in West Africa and warned them about his symptoms.

    Troh, who is now writing a memoir about her experience, reflected about how her fiance traveled from Liberia specifically to marry her in the United States. They had an intimate relationship when he arrived and they planned to continue their lives together. But that all changed when Duncan developed symptoms of the potentially deadly virus.

    Troh said she is upset with Presbyterian Hospital, whom she believes didn’t do enough to save his life.

    "Imagine, I could not visit him. I was told, `prepare for the worst.' It was horrible. You either think of killing yourself or you ask God to make you strong," Troh said in an interview with The Associated Press.

    Hospital officials said they did all they could and consulted with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Emory University Hospital in Atlanta throughout the process of Duncan’s care

    Troh said she is trying to move forward and just wants to get back to a normal life, but that it's become stressful trying to find a place for she and her family to live because every property owner she's talked to in Dallas refuses to rent her a long-term residence due to the negative stigma of Ebola.

    "I am hurt, I am displaced, I have this Ebola stigma on me and no one will take me in," Troh said.

    She said a previous landlord, The Biltmore Apartments, cited an outstanding debt of $1,900 for denying her application -- a charge Troh said was frivolous. Lisa Hawkins, the building complex's community manager, declined to comment.

    The Ivy Apartments, where Duncan stayed with Troh for 10 days before his first trip to the emergency room, also denied her rental application, Troh said. A message left with The Ivy's manager was not returned.

    "They are treating me like a foreigner," said Troh, who is an American citizen. "America thinks we do not deserve better.

    State and federal law prohibits discrimination against buyers or renters on the basis of race, sex, national origin, religion, sex, physical or mental disability and family status.

    Troh's pastor, George Mason of Wilshire Baptist Church, said buying a condo to rent to Troh is a last resort.

    "When we tried to rent another condo, they turned us down when they found out who we were," Mason said.

    Troh does not have an attorney, but Mason does. He said if a pending deal to buy a condo for Troh to rent falls through, filing a lawsuit will be Troh's next course of action.

    Troh returned to church last Sunday in her first public appearance since going into quarantine. Fellow congregants donated money to help her buy clothes and have pledged to donate more to help Troh furnish a home -- whenever she manages to find one.

    For now, Troh, and nine others, are crammed into her daughter's modest apartment. Meanwhile, Troh is also trying to replace her family's personal belongings that were incinerated when authorities decontaminated her apartment.

    Despite so much loss and suffering, Troh manages to remain positive and to get through her days with a smile, while coming to terms with the loss of her fiance.

    The Associated Press' Emily Schmall