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Opinion

Readers React: Unfair criticism of Ebola patient’s care

To the editor: Thomas Eric Duncan’s family has questioned Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital’s standard of care. A standard of medical care is measured by what a reasonably competent, skilled and prudent healthcare professional would do in a specific treatment setting. (“Thomas Eric Duncan of Liberia dies of Ebola in Dallas,” Oct. 8)

Over the years, a hospital establishes a standard of care in treating diabetes or urinary tract infections or coronary insufficiencies based on medical outcomes of hundreds of such cases. No standard can possibly be established or criticized based on a hospital’s encounter with its first and only case of Ebola.

If a man falls to Earth from Mars and dies of an unknown disease, the doctor cannot be said to have fallen below an acceptable standard of care, regardless of whether the Martian was black or white or had insurance.

Herb Weinberg, Marina del Rey

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To the editor: As the Rev. Jessie Jackson and Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price have so accurately assessed, due to Duncan’s skin shade and financial portfolio, he was basically given pills at the hospital and told to go home and drink plenty of fluids. When that didn’t work, he was placed in isolation, where he perished.

That “substandard care” might have played out differently had Duncan been honest when he flew to the U.S. from Liberia, and again when he entered the emergency room in Dallas, by telling anyone in authority that he had had direct contact with a Liberian woman who had just died of Ebola.

The fault does not lie at the steps of the Texas hospital or in Duncan’s pigmentation or wallet; the fault lies in him being less than truthful.

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Stephen Kienzle, Whittier

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