Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price and the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. have made similar arguments this week that Thomas Duncan, the first patient diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, died because his race and lack of “privilege” kept him from receiving the care he needed.
“It is historical what has happened in this community,” said Mr. Price, who is black. “If a person who looks like me shows up without any insurance, they don’t get the same treatment.”
Federal and state authorities said they are considering a full investigation into Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, where Duncan was being treated, a local CBS affiliate reported. The hospital has received criticism for initially turning the patient away and failing to screen for Ebola when he was experiencing Ebola-like symptoms.
Mr. Jackson echoed similar sentiments about privilege in a Tuesday blog entry for The Huffington Post.
“What role did [Duncan’s] lack of privilege play in the treatment he received? He is being treated as a criminal rather than as a patient,” he wrote. “As followers of Jesus, we are called to work for the day when those with privilege, most often white people, have greater access to better medical care than those whom Jesus calls ‘the least of our sisters and brothers.’”
Texas Health Resources spokesperson Candace White issued a statement that said Duncan “was treated the way any other patient would have been treated, regardless of nationality or ability to pay for care. We have a long history of treating a multicultural community in this area,” the CBS affiliate reported.