Settlement Quickly Reached in Ebola Death Case

Money will provide for Thomas Eric Duncan's children, create charitable foundation.
27:13 | 11/12/14

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Transcript for Settlement Quickly Reached in Ebola Death Case
He was the only person who died of Ebola in America Thomas Eric Duncan today. His family is speaking out about a resolution they have reached for the Texas health resources that is the company that runs the hospital. That treated Duncan. Well when I'm down Cutler in new York and Doug is telling you sets talk about what kind of deal they have reached with the hospital in fact the news conference is getting under way with the family's attorney. Let's listen in. Seek this week's. Who's the nephew. Of the deceased Thomas Eric Duncan. Jesse fist. He is a military veteran. He was a veteran. Yen Iraq yesterday was veterans day and he was in his uniform when he came into my office. He's really. Been tremendous in trying to put the family together. With regard to this. And here's mother. Men a were re. Who is here today. Which the deceased Thomas Eric Duncan's sister. She has done instrumental. Yen working with us to contact. In make sure. That we're taking care of all the children. Thomas Eric Duncan. Mr. Duncan has four children. Alan made Duncan 22 who lives in Liberia. His fire Aaron done in nineteen. Who is that student in fact he's a red shirt and freshman quarterback it's any Angelo state. I university in saint Angela taxes. Deeper Amos Duncan. Is eighteen years old and he's a high school student in North Carolina. Erica Duncan is twelve years old she lives and gone. Mr. Duncan's mother. No way Korea IK. Resides in North Carolina and his father Jacob Duncan lives in Liberia. This has been a tragic loss. For the children and the parents. But we are here today to announce. A settlement. We have Presbyterian Hospital. That will take here all of the children. And the parents. And in addition. We're very pleased that the Texas health resource foundation has agreed to create a charitable trusts. A terrible trust in the memory. Thomas Eric Duncan with the on one of its existing foundations. The purpose of that fund is going to be brought to provide for assistance. To the victims of a bullet in Africa mr. weeks. Is going to work risk Texas health resources foundation. In continuing his personal efforts to fight. The deadly Ebola Virus in Africa and his role dreaming analysts. Debt with the help of the Presbyterians foundation. That bacon put together fines and work with others. And we know there's a lot of other charities. And organizations. Working to fight of all life in Africa he wants to work with them and he wants to see as state of the art. Facility. For treatment of a bullet in Africa were hoping that today will be the launch of that in addition. The family would like to see book or movie about the ordeal. That their family and that Thomas Eric Arkin has gone through. But the family would also like to see. That something like this doesn't happen to anybody else. I got involved in this case originally at the behest. Of Lisa blue the current president of the American. Association for justice formally known as the association for hours of America. And Lisa blue got involved in this. At the request of members of this Gilman avenue church or cries this Gilman avenue church of Christ. Has. Done an outstanding job. Yen helping. Because via air Duncan to you get to see and Angela state. And they've been working we have him four years. To help him out. They came to us and the the example they've sat. Charity. And kindness and help. Two part of this family. Encouraged me. To become involved in the us and two try to help this family. And the Aaron. We were able to work with Presbyterians. Again. I want I must command presbyterian and Texas health resources. Four number one. Wanting. To get this matter resolved quickly. And get this matter resolved despite the very onerous taxes medical malpractice laws. And I believe that we've done the best that we could with what we had to work wit. As you now. Under Texas law if Syria does a malpractice case that arises in an emergency room the standard of proof is not ordinary negligence the standard of proof is gross negligence. Which I believe we could've met in this case but it's an onerous standard in its not a fair standard. And this case I hope. Will also. Be a catalyst. For changing that law in the state of Texas this emergency room patients. Who were mistreated. And sent hound when they should not be sent hound and not given the proper care. Don't half. To prove gross negligence or willful and wanton conduct Britain's dad are able to. Bring a case in court with an ordinary negligence standard like medical malpractice cases. In any other field. In an almost every other state. In an edition. I hope that this case will bring attention. To what I believe or ridiculously. Low limits. For pain and suffering of victims of medical malpractice in the state of Texas. As you know there's a 250000. Dollar cap. No matter how many physicians are involved in misconduct. Or malpractice in the case they all share in that one cap and there's an additional 250000. Dollar cap. For the hospital. So. In most cases. Especially where you have someone who doesn't have lost wages isn't working he's elderly. Young or a female. It it fairly limits the recovery on the case. In it really. Doesn't do any thing. In my opinion. To discourage the epidemic that we have. Up preventable medical errors. One of the things that that we have prepared today and to hand out. He's an article. In titled new evidence based estimate of patient harms associated with a hospital care. From the journal patient safety last year. Which estimates that there are in fact. 400000. Preventable. Death due to hospital and medical errors the United States every year. Again this article has a couple of quotes in it that I think are particularly applicable to this situation. One of them announced all manned make mistakes. Very good man yields when he terrorists his course is wrong and repairs the evil the only crime this pride. That's a quote in this article where it's actually coming from soffa please. And that applies here and it applies here to presbyterian Texas health resources. Because. They are in my opinion really making an attempt. Two. Repair or. What happened and what went wrong. And another point that I want to mandate ears get the conclusion of this article. It says. That. There was much debate. After the reports came out the initial reports. About how many hospital deaths there were some years ago. Again in the fifth it doesn't matter where the death of a 300000. Or 400000. Americans. Are associated with provisionable. Mirrors in hospitals. Give me the estimates demands assertive action on the part of providers legislators. And people who one day become patients. And I hope that everybody realizes because the poll was taken over the news and the Ebola epidemics taken over the news. But the a bowl epidemic has accounted for May be about 101000 deaths in the world. Vs the estimated 400000. Deaths a preventable hospital errors. And I hope. Debt at least in the United States part of the focus will be on the epidemic. Of these preventable medical errors. And this is a case that illustrates that it goes beyond just the Ebola Virus it affects a lot more people and it calls. Up for some attention to be done. Now want to say just couple other things about. Presbyterian Hospital in Texas hell and not those view that every search me no. That I have probably sued every hospital in north Texas. Among others. In the country. And I have been a patient. Yet Presbyterian Hospital. And I would not hesitate go back there because I believe that in fact preventable medical errors occur. Everywhere and that we need to focus on that in all of these hospitals. Not just Presbyterians. But the other thing I can tell you from my experience with presbyterian in the mini. Lost and it's not been involved. He has bet. Not very many. Hospitals. Or medical malpractice insurance companies would have even. Entertained. Early resolution of this case without going through years of litigation in the process and doing that this family. Does or herbs I believe. Some credit. Four presbyterian hospital. And Texas health resources. I also know. That prevent -- preventable medical errors. Medical malpractice deaths in hospitals. They're not based on race they're not based on insurance status. They can happen and do happen. With every race and people whether they have insurance or they don't have insurance. I've seen a lot of them. And I believe that the airs in this case. Happens regardless of race regardless of insurance. Coverage. But they happen. Because. Of policies and procedures that were not appropriately followed. Or were not appropriately. Employees. And one of the things we've Lauren from the research in these articles is there for gonna prevent. Medical errors from killing people. That it requires transparency. On the part of the hospitals. In a requires a willingness for them to say. What it is they did wrong to seek out the root cause. Of it and to make changes in their policies and procedures in that regard to Texas health presbyterian. And Texas health. Resources in Dallas presbyterian. They have to be. Crumb correct congratulated. And commended. On stepping out to the plight because here what they did is they've apologized. They'd sad. What went wrong. They have changed policies and procedures. By. The announcements that they've made it changes. In their electronic medical record and in the information that they take yen and the way they handled us so there are making the effort to try to prevent this from happening. We need. All hospitals. To make those kinds of efforts and we need. Those kinds of efforts to get attention. From you in the media to get the word out that there does an epidemic. These kinds of death that happened in the United States. And finally. Before I introduce the family. Mr. Reese wants to say a few words and then we will take questions. I just wanna say something. About trial lawyers everywhere this is what we do. This is what we do because we believe in justice. And we believe that we should help people. And that was what struck me about this that this was an extraordinary case. And that it required. Extraordinary. Hell. And so we've stepped up to the plate to do that. You know years ago. Trial lawyers. Represented. For free the victims of 9/11. In New York. And there was a group that we formed called trial orders care. And trial orders duke here. And that's another message. That I hope to get out. By what we've done here and getting this resolution. That we had. In my opinion the resolution that we've reached. Considering the onerous laws that we have to deal with. Was the best resolution that we could get and it was good as good or better. Them what we would have gotten. If we. Were. Trying this case. To a jury to conclusion. Ian in this matter. So. We have. Wrap this up. The only thing left is the formalities. And we hope to have it all concluded. By the end of the day today. But we do have a a formal agreement. It's a good agreement it's multifaceted. And one of the most important things going forward. Is that in fact mr. weeks and the foundation. Four Texas health. We'll work together. To raise charitable funds. To help. The victims of a Paula in Africa. Thank you all very match and I want to introduce. One of the heroes of this family. Mr. Jess just sees this week. Thanks everyone. I appreciate you being here today. This and not understand for today until you're dead. We've reached an agreement with Texas Presbyterian Hospital I believe this facility is an outstanding facility. And we as humans we are not perfect we make errors. Chris how are you recover from mirrors and make you when you are. Fastest soldier my duty was gore and protected innocent. And have frozen their lead of doom are doing is I was penalized for. Texas separate return so did so via initiated to go and make this situation a better situation. So that we can all move forward and help those that are behind us left you know alive. We admit a mistake and we lost one. But we can save a thousand. That's my girl. I don't I can never replace Thomas that are Duncan for what I can do was to make sure that everything that happens from here. Makes it better for everybody else. Conclusively or in this room know families might be affected by similar situations that are going we all make mistakes. So send that Warren about mistakes this narrow so problem. I like to thank a few people I have to make this possible start rumors of a lot less and less. Was brought his a chapter and he's been in our corner from from. As long as I can remember he's got the most pace and you worked very hard on this so I recommend you less than doing this for us. And. Also want to thank Texas Presbyterian Hospital. For standing up step in and owning up to dim steaks and doing the right thing to make sure it never happens again. That's an honorable thing to do and I respect confident. About got sick and Texas president Aaron was close to me go to get treated for. Past my best mark commitment to them and in good faith did. Guaranteed that they're going gore and blown up today and of the bargain to make sure this process and this project is this is as successful. And with everybody's we need government everywhere. So you guys anything you can do fullest who will be willing to accept it. Also I like to thank the rose law group and Arizona. This start us big got as you know going and doused Anglo group. And now you know I'm did that they're great people so I'll work with them in the future if dad you know possibility. You know dark sands permits us to do it. Also Mona Lisa a lot of us. And ms. Whitney while this Salisbury. I like to say thank you to. Wallace aground off from as well they were up there up us to get some of these are issues resolved also rather like to thank my family. Philbin is also important we help each other we know each other you know together and we we do what we needed to do to make sure Eric's death. Does not Argo and bang. And now we can't come out from this situation better than we when it. Also I like to say thanks to regress. For being here and making our voices heard without Joseph who wouldn't imagine it is possible all you did I appreciate it sought let's say thank you. And for those honorable men and women still in combat today I like to say we salute you. And we've got to six. To their families that live back here are veterans. We've got your back as well as who would take care of our Brothers and sisters that overseas and they're fighting. But would bet I like to say that day is do we reached. Is an outstanding due. And we have a foundation. Needs our support and everyone here it can do do you part. Africa and Africans are not a virus. There human beings. Decades in Africa right now there are banned starved because. Their parents die from the Ebola. So no one is going to help them give them fu the evening comfort and hold them so these kids are dying of starvation. Today did human beings that's the future of the nation a continent are people. So those days should be taken care program as well. So please do not statement ties Africans liberians and look at them as viruses. Did not viruses there are people a day human beings and deserve to live and give people to. So let's treat them and be honorable as we move forward Baz is devastating. Lost we head. I like to thank reverend Jackson for helping us out and a rainbow push coalition as well. So there's a lot of people are made this possible. A lot of people are made this possible he grew neo. So I like to say thank you to everyone and we just need to support to make sure that this facility we trying to build and Liberia and Africa is an outstanding facility that would help every single one of us. That's. Sort of cyclical. May. It is a little under the weather and and from flying and not cutting his sore threats to she's not gonna give a formal talk. But we're all happy to answer your questions here for a little bit. We have a meeting. In about thirty minutes. We. Members of the foundations. Four. Texas health resources to talk some more about going forward. With his security. Good questions anyone. The the size and the of the settlement are confidential. So I can't tell you any more about that then out what I've already told you. Which is that I think that it's it's a very good deal it will provide for. The children and the parents in that I think it's as good or better. Considering the constraints that we have under the law. With what could have been achieved if we had taken this case all the way through the legal process. Which for guard to. The charitable. Foundation. We are just starting now. We we really don't know. What the scope because they were hoping him more information on that later did that. And it. Wearing j.'s largest news conference coming out of Dallas Texas that of course he any attorney for the family of Thomas Eric Duncan the only victim. Ozzie of both situation here in the United States Duncan died October 8 after he was initially. Had to gone into the hospital on September. 23. I'm just last month and had and seeking treatment for some symptoms in the bowl like symptoms. He was later discharged from the hospital and it was shortly thereafter on October 8 where he did succumb. To the Ebola Virus and you can hear this morning now that Pham Le. Duncan coming to a settlement with the hospital operating system. Where he was treated. I want to bring in our news correspondent Tommy Thomas have been fun this story in time for the the test of the settlement there not known but what do we know that came out of this resolution. What we know that Texas health presbyterian has admitted to some wrongdoing that they did make mistakes in the care Thomas Eric Duncan that. Ultimately led to his death which shocked me about what we're seeing right now was that. This settlement happened about five weeks after Thomas here in here Duncan passed away. Usually settlements take five years this happened so quickly Texas health presbyterian. Clearly wanted to make a statement that they're gonna take care of Thomas Eric dockets to and we. Now we don't know how much money they've settled for but it is a substantial doubt why do we know this one that isn't gonna build a center in Africa. A Thomas are Duncan's foundation under his name it's also going to go to basically support Thomas are Duncan's children. Along with his parents as well so a sizable settlement we can deftly imagine that stands to reason Dan. Net and you pointed that the fact that Thomas of this settlement at the same time a CDC and hospital itself in fact said the attackers Texas presbyterian. Made a number of missteps. Even so that might be legally difficult to actually sue why. You know I'm I'm not a lawyer but I have covered a lot of these cases and settlements and it would be very very hard if this case ever went to a jury. Very very hard for Texas health presbyterian. To not get. Some type of sympathy or to say Thomas are dug its Stanley to get some type of sympathy he's the first person diagnosed people in the United States he's the only person to die in the United States. Because of people to other nurses diagnosed after him are able to survive. One of those able to get a blood transfusion Thomas you're Duncan never received the blood transfusion. On top of all that. The big headline was he was sent back home. After having it be broke 103. Telling the nurse there that he would travel to Africa he should have never been sent home. They lost to engage in those care and as we learn for more reporting those two days of care or critical in trying to get a handle on this deadly disease. But he'd be very hard to explain to a jury. A jury made up mostly people who likely are not doctors to try to explain to them. How was everybody else was diagnosed with the bull in the United States' and even brought from Africa able to survive in this country. And yet Thomas Eric Duncan somebody who was from Africa who was not insured who we sent back. Ends up dying it be very tough case to make for them. And because of that storyline is as well Tom I wanted to ask you about this given the nature of the settlement and the you pointed out in fact of the financial these house are not being disclosed at this point that a charitable trust has been established to help people crisis in Africa. But also in fact the lawyer with saying today and at the family was interest in provide some of removing some kind of a book deal based on this whole story. Yeah I think this this story has not completely played out yet because we didn't hear a whole lot of also what's gonna happen. With the fiance Luis troll who had a big part of this in fact. Right after her husband her fiance should say dies. You know that week she was still in corn team which was supposed to Mary Thomas Eric Duncan. You know her fairly was put through so much trauma noddle with the death but having to go through the quarantine. Having to go through the missteps in the beginning with Dallas officials as well. I wonder what's gonna happen to her I wonder what if she's gonna receive a separate settlement or the settlement covers that the from the language they used. They're only talking about Thomas Eric Duncan's parents along with his children. There are a lot of other family members involved in this Stanley members that would quarantine. And of course that the young say who really had this hit. Are the toughest the deets has very specific on am have to wanes in fact if there will be more coming from this ABC's Tommy Thomas's latest lot of doubts Tom thanks so much appreciate it. And of course you can keep up with the store real time by downloading ABC news happened started a story for exclusive updates on the go. For now I'm down Cutler in New York.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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