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Family settles with hospital in Ebola failure to diagnose

The family of a man who died from the Ebola virus has settled with Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas. The man passed away on Oct. 8.

The settlement was announced on Nov. 12 and will prevent a lawsuit against the hospital for failure to diagnose the disease. The family will receive an unknown amount of money to help raise the victim's four children, help support his parents and pay all of the man's medical expenses. A charity has been established to help those in West Africa who have the disease. The hospital's chief executive officer also personally wrote an apology letter to the family. The victim's fiance, however, will not receive any of the settlement.

The family has indicated that a movie or book deal is wanted so that they can tell the victim's story. The family does not believe that their loved one's race or lack of insurance coverage had anything to do with the failure to diagnose. They simply believe that the hospital was unprepared to deal with possible Ebola patients and didn't not have the proper policies in place.

The victim returned to the United States from Liberia on Sept. 20. He went to the emergency room on Sept. 25 but was not correctly diagnosed with Ebola. After five hours in the ER, he was sent home. Five days later, he was brought back to the hospital in an ambulance and died from the disease. Two of the nurses who cared for the victim also contracted the disease; however, they both survived.

Medical malpractice cases are complex and in Texas, non-economic damages awarded in such cases, generally, cannot be more than $250,000. Because these types of cases are so complicated and time-consuming, it's important to have an experienced legal professional by your side as you take on defendants with more resources.

Source: USA Today, "Hospital will pay Duncan's medical bills, set up charity" Walt Zwirko, Nov. 12, 2014

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