Hospital: “We Made Mistakes” and Are “Deeply Sorry”

Hospital also apologizes to Duncan's fiancee

Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas is apologizing for initially misdiagnosing the country's first Ebola patient in testimony prepared for a Thursday hearing on Capitol Hill.

In remarks prepared for delivery before a House committee, the hospital's chief clinical officer, Dr. Daniel Varga, admits mistakes were made during Thomas Eric Duncan's care when he first arrived at the hospital's emergency room.

In remarks delivered before a House committee, the hospital’s chief clinical officer, Dr. Daniel Varga, admits mistakes were made during Thomas Eric Duncan’s care when he first arrived at the hospital’s emergency room.

"Unfortunately, in our initial treatment of Mr. Duncan, despite our best intentions and a highly skilled medical team, we made mistakes," Varga is prepared to testify. "We did not correctly diagnose his symptoms as those of Ebola. We are deeply sorry."

Duncan died at Presbyterian Hospital on Oct. 8, two weeks after he had first gone to the hospital because he was feeling ill. He was initially treated and released but returned three days later and was put in isolation.

Varga's prepared testimony calls Duncan's death "devastating to the nurses, doctors, and team who tried so hard to save his life." 

"We keep his family in our thoughts and prayers," Varga said.

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Thomas Frieden, has said caregivers improperly donned protective gear, using more layers than recommended because they believed it would better protect them.

In fact, he said, it may have put them at higher risk.

But in his prepared testimony, the hospital executive said doctors and nurses followed guidelines.

"The hospital followed all CDC and Texas Department of Health Services recommendations in an effort to ensure the safety of all patients, hospital staff, volunteers, nurses, physicians and visitors," Varga said in his prepared testimony.

Varga admits that the hospital didn't provide accurate information about an electronic records system after it was discovered they were caring for the nation's first Ebola patient.

"Also, in our effort to communicate to the public quickly and transparently, we inadvertently provided some information that was inaccurate and had to be corrected. No doubt that was unsettling to a community that was already concerned and confused, and we have learned from that experience as well," Varga's testimony said.

As a result of the hospital's admitted mistakes, Varga said there have been "a number of changes based on the preliminary lessons learned from our experience."

Read Varga's full statement below:

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HHRG Varga (Text)

Louise Troh, Duncan's fiancee who is in isolation at an undisclosed location in Dallas, released a statement through her church Thursday:

"On Thursday morning, Oct. 16, I received a phone call from an executive with Texas Health Resources Presbyterian Hospital. The purpose of this call was to apologize to me for the death of my fiancée, Thomas Eric Duncan, and to express regret that the hospital was not able to save his life. This official said the hospital was "deeply sorry" for the way this tragedy played out.

I am grateful to the hospital for this personal call. 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.

Because of my faith in God and because of my belief in what the Bible teaches, it is my position that God is the judge of others and their actions, and vengeance is not mine to demand. God is the judge, and God will take care of me."

Troh, her 13-year-old son and two nephews are being monitored for signs of the virus as part of a 21-day court-ordered quarantine.

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