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Hospital’s handling of Ebola patient raises questions – Part 1

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  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Even as top administration officials were answering questions at the White House about the federal response to Ebola, much of this day's attention was focused on the latest developments in Texas.

    Hari Sreenivasan has the story.

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    A hazardous materials team arrived this morning at the Dallas apartment complex where Thomas Duncan stayed before being hospitalized on Sunday. They collected anything contaminated, including a car that they covered with a giant plastic bag.

    The Dallas fire marshal said four of Duncan's relatives are being moved from the apartment complex to new accommodations. They have been quarantined under armed guard after they refused to remain inside voluntarily.

  • SALLY NURAN, Property Manager:

    Nobody is supposed to go inside the apartment. They are in their apartment. They cannot come out. They are not even allowed to come on the porch.

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, the county's top administrator, voiced concern for the family's plight and apologized for the delay in removing the soiled items. Meanwhile, Texas health officials said they have narrowed the group being monitored to 50 people who had direct or indirect contact with Duncan.

    Crews have also cleaned schools attended by five students who were exposed to Duncan. But some parents say they're far from reassured.

  • CANDIS HOLT, Parent:

    And then we just got letters in the kids' backpack yesterday saying that they had it basically under control. But I feel otherwise, because if you really had it under control, the kids wouldn't have came to school in the first place, but you will never know.

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    As for Duncan himself, questions continue to swirl over the handling his case. He managed to fly out of Liberia last month after having contact with an Ebola patient. He showed no symptoms at the time. But after falling ill in Dallas, he was initially turned away by Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital. The hospital blames a flaw in its electronic records system. Duncan was admitted on Sunday, but even then, his nephew complained that Duncan was mishandled.

    At the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci says he agrees.

    DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases: The idea that this person went to an emergency room and they didn't flag that he had recently been in Liberia and thus immediately put him in isolation was unfortunate that that missed. That happens. I think the important thing is to have that as a lesson learned to look forward.

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    Infected hospital waste has also become an issue. Dallas officials announced today a disposal company is now in place.

    This was a day when even one of the government's top health officials said there were things that didn't go the way they should have.

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