The Rev. Jesse Jackson and a Dallas County commissioner have accused a Texas hospital of racism in the death of Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan.
"What role did [Duncan's] lack of privilege play in the treatment he received? He is being treated as a criminal rather than as a patient," Jackson wrote in a story for the Huffington Post
this week. "As followers of Jesus, we are called to work for the day when those with privilege, most often white people, have greater access to better medical care than those whom Jesus calls 'the least of our sisters and brothers.'"
Duncan, who traveled to Dallas from Liberia on Sept. 20, contacted the disease while in the West African country — which has become ground zero in the current epidemic. He succumbed to the illness
Duncan visited Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital on Sept. 25 after first experiencing symptoms a day earlier. Doctors released him, seeing no major cause for concern. Reports say that Duncan told doctors he had come from West Africa.
Duncan's condition worsened and he returned to the hospital Sept. 28 by ambulance. He was isolated from other patients at the hospital to minimize the spread of the disease and was treated for Ebola up until his death.
Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price echoed Jackson's claim that Duncan's race prevented him from getting better treatment.
"It is historical what has happened in this community," Price said in a CBS Dallas-Fort Worth story.
"If a person who looks like me shows up without any insurance, they don’t get the same treatment."
In a statement Thursday, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital defended its care
"Our care team provided Mr. Duncan with the same high level of attention and care that would be given any patient, regardless of nationality or ability to pay for care," the statement read.
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