MyFoxDFW: The Rev. Jesse Jackson was in Dallas Tuesday to make sure Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan is getting the best medical care possible.
Rev. Jackson said Duncan’s family asked for his help. He recently tweeted that “he should not be shunned” and to “kill the disease and not the person.”
“Thomas deserves the love and the best medical treatment American can afford as has happened for all the other Americans who have contracted this terrible disease,” he told FOX 4. “He must be treated as a patient with all the human rights deserved, not as a criminal.”
Duncan moved to Dallas from Liberia about a week before he got sick. Although Liberian officials said he lied on his travel forms when leaving the country, Jackson believes he did not know he was exposed.
The reverend said Duncan simply tried to help a dying woman and then came to Dallas to get married.
Doctors at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital gave Duncan the experimental drug brincidofovir after his conditioned worsened over the weekend. But, Jackson believes the hospital has been slow at getting him the best medicine.
“Now there’s such a national concern about it he’s getting an experimental drug. We’re gonna hope and pray that it is successful,” he said.
He pointed out that Duncan was sent home from the hospital despite having symptoms “maybe because he didn’t have insurance.”
Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price chimed in at Commissioner’s Court that what happened to Duncan at the hospital was the “elephant in the room.” He said when “people who look like me show up at hospital with no insurance, they’re treated differently.”
Rev. Jackson met with Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and about 100 local pastors Tuesday morning. He prayed with Duncan’s family and plans to organize a prayer vigil for them later in the day.
Jackson shared a story about Jesus praying over the lepers in quarantine.
“He was firm in his love for the person fighting the disease. We must have that same sense of love for Thomas, to embrace him and fight this disease,” he said.
Meanwhile, health officials are closely monitoring 48 people who came in contact with Duncan before he was admitted to the hospital. Ten of those people are considered “high risk.”
“This is a very important week. We need to be prepared in Dallas for what could happen. If any of the family members God forbid becomes ill, we need to be ready,” said Dr. David Lakey, Texas State Health Commissioner.
Concern about of the deadly disease spreading in the United States and other countries continues to grow. On Monday a Spanish nurse was diagnosed with Ebola and President Barack Obama said the government is considering ordering more careful screening of airline passengers arriving from West Africa.
Gov. Rick Perry called on the federal government to stop Ebola at the borders.
“Customs officials and border patrol at all points of entry should immediately be directed to conduct enhanced screening procedures,” Perry said at a press conference Monday. “Those steps may be something as simple as taking a temperature. These much needed screening procedures will necessitate fully prepared quarantine stations.”
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