A Dallas hospital today defended its processes and procedures after a nurses' union criticized it for alleged lapses in the treatment of a patient with Ebola who later died.
In the statement released this morning, authorities with Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital said workers followed guidelines established by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention after patient Thomas Eric Duncan was diagnosed with Ebola.
Duncan first arrived at the hospital Sept. 26, and was sent home with antibiotics and Tylenol before returning via ambulance days later.
Duncan died Oct. 8, and two of the nurses who treated him – Nina Pham and Amber Vinson – have since tested positive for the virus. Federal authorities are still trying to figure out how the nurses contracted Ebola, with officials blaming a breach in protocol for the situation.
According to the hospital’s statement in response to a release from National Nurses United, the patient’s samples were handled with sensitivity to avoid a potential contamination.
“All specimens were placed into closed specimens bags and placed inside a plastic carrier that travel through a pneumatic system. At no time did Mr. Duncan’s specimens leak or spill – either from their bag or their carrier – into the tube system,” the statement reads.
The hospital also addressed the union's allegations of improper protective gear at the facility, stating that hoods were ordered due to worker concerns that the skin on their neck was exposed – and that nurses’ interactions with Duncan were consistent with CDC guidelines.
The response follows a previous statement by National Nurses United, the country’s largest nurses’ union, issued on behalf of several nurses at the hospital.
National Nurses United has not issued a response to the hospital’s latest statement.
Earlier, the hospital said that it mishandled Duncan's case by originally sending him home even after he had a fever and said he was from Liberia.
"Unfortunately, in our initial treatment of Mr. Duncan, despite our best intentions and a highly skilled medical team, we made mistakes," Dr. Daniel Varga, the chief clinical officer for Texas Health Services, said in written testimony to the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
"We did not correctly diagnose his symptoms as those of Ebola. We are deeply sorry."