DALLAS — As an Ebola investigation continues at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, the family of the man diagnosed with the deadly illness is getting some assistance from civil rights activist Jesse Jackson.
Jackson said the family of the patient — Thomas Duncan — asked him to come to Dallas to help them get some answers from the doctors treating the man. With Duncan's mother, Nowai Korkoyah, at his side, Jackson walked into the South Dallas Café for an early morning prayer session and news conference with the patient's worried family.
"I'm anxious," Jackson said. "I'm concerned that they feel so alienated and so pushed away."
The civil rights activist said Duncan's family is having a tough time getting direct communication from doctors since the man was diagnosed with Ebola virus last week.
"He got sick, went to the hospital," Jackson said. "He didn't have insurance in Africa, and they turned him away. So they sent him back into the community with a contagious disease, and for that there must be some liability."
Jackson explained that Duncan's family — who traveled to Texas from North Carolina — also has concerns about the patient's access to medicine. Doctors said the experimental drug recently used to treat two American health care workers who contracted the Ebola virus in Liberia is no longer available. Doctors have been treating Duncan with a different investigational drug since Saturday.
"They are saying no more doses," Jackson said. "That seems strange to only have only enough medicine for two patients in the whole country."
Jackson helped facilitate a meeting between Duncan's family and the medical team at Texas Health Presbyterian Dallas Tuesday afternoon. As the patient remains in critical condition, Duncan's sister, Mai Wureh, said they just want to make sure her brother is getting adequate treatment.
"We just want him to get well," Wureh said. "You know, we just want him to get well."
Texas Health Presbyterian Dallas issued an update Tuesday saying Duncan remains in critical condition. They said he is stable and on a ventilator, and that he's receiving kidney dialysis.
The hospital reports that Duncan's liver functions are improving, after declining over the weekend. Doctors say Duncan's condition could vary in the coming days.
MORE: Stories about Ebola