Civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. traveled Tuesday to Dallas, Texas to meet with Southern Dallas pastors, community leaders and the family of Thomas Eric Duncan, the first Ebola victim diagnosed with the virus in the Unites States.
During his visit, Jackson appealed for the humane treatment of Duncan, saying he “needs love and medical treatment.”
According to reports, Duncan contracted the disease just days before a planned trip to to reunite with his family in Dallas when he helped a sick pregnant woman get to a hospital in Liberia. The woman died the next morning.
Duncan was screened for Ebola at the airport and answered “no” when asked if he had been in contact with anyone with the disease. He had no fever upon boarding his plane to Dallas.
Duncan could face criminal charges in both Liberia and the Unites States over allegations that he misled officials about his exposure to the virus. Jackson shot down these allegations Tuesday, claiming that Duncan wasn’t lying when he said he wasn’t experiencing symptoms of the contagious disease. “He showed no signs of the Ebola virus at that time. If he had, he would not have come home to be with his children,” Jackson said.
After going to the hospital in Texas, Duncan was released with antibiotics. Initially, the Dallas hospital claimed that doctors and nurses didn’t have access to Duncan’s travel history because of a software flaw. The hospital later clarified that there was no such flaw but failed to explain the details of Duncan’s release.
Jackson blamed this apparent breakdown of hospital protocol on Duncan being a “poor, African without insurance,” saying that Duncan “was sent back into the community” with Ebola.
Jackson also said Duncan should receive the same level of treatment that other Ebola patients have receive. “Whatever treatment has been afforded those patients in Georgia and Nebraska, Thomas Duncan deserves that same treatment,” Jackson said. “What worked in Nebraska should work in Dallas as well. All we’re asking in this medical application is one set of rules.”