the death of Thomas Duncan, who bears the unfortunate distinction of being the first person to die in the US of ebola. I genuinely hoped that our health care system could have done something for him, as it had for Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol, but I think that medical intervention did not happen soon enough to benefit him.
I think I want it to be said he is not to be blamed for getting infected and bringing the virus here. I am certain he could not have wanted this. Who would? This was a man who boarded a plane a healthy man and eager to reunite with his partner and son. The fault that gave him contact with this disease was of kindness. He had helped a pregnant neighbor to the hospital when she was convulsing of fever, thought to be a complication of her pregnancy. He might genuinely have not known for sure what she had, and even so, what he had done was very human and humane. There is no malice in getting infected, or being human, and having the disease with one. There is no malice in seeking treatment, and wanting to believe that one isn't gravely ill. This strain seems slow to incubate and comes on like a touch of the flu.
He wanted to be reunited with his family here, maybe to start a better relationship with them, a new life. No one in this world can want to die half ashamed of spreading a contagion, so virulent one must be kept alone, so wretched one's family can't bear seeing you even via camera.
Despite the threats of Liberia and the US that he would be prosecuted for carrying this disease (like he had so many choices), let me just explain that it was up to the US hospital at which he sought care four days prior to his diagnosis to figure this shit out, and they didn't. Which is no different from the possible failings of the Spanish hospital with respects to the stricken nurse there. It may not be possible to contain the disease entirely between borders, but to prevent additional contacts and catch it early enough to prevent more contact and treat the patient as early as possible--these are achievable things we all aren't doing quite well enough yet.
(But I can't disagree with the theory that he did not get the attention deserved upfront as an black man without insurance in this country. Our health care system has some recognizable flaws.)
We still should not panic--only our medical institutions must learn how to deal and quickly with this emerging situation.