Ebola-related hysteria continues to dominate the media. The first patient diagnosed with the virus in the United States, Thomas Eric Duncan, passed away this week.
Duncan, who died in Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, had been in isolation at the hospital since September 28. He was on a ventilator and given experimental medicine. He started receiving dialysis on October 4. He received fluid replacements, blood transfusions and blood pressure medications. Add that to the indirect costs of treating an Ebola patient, like security and waste disposal, and the cost of protective equipment and staff training, and the bill becomes huge.
Just how huge?
About $1,000 an hour, according to a Bloomberg report. $18,000 to $24,000 a day. According to Gerard Anderson, a health policy professor at Johns Hopkins' Bloomberg School of Public Health, treating a patient with the virus can roughly double the standard cost of care in an intensive care unit.
That works out to a total of about a half a million dollars that Texas Presbyterian is unlikely to ever recoup. Duncan had no health insurance and spokesmen for both Texas Health Presbyterian and the Liberian embassy declined to reveal who would pay for his care.
"It is with profound sadness and heartfelt disappointment that we must inform you of the death of Thomas Eric Duncan [October 8] at 7:51 a.m.," Texas Health Presbyterian said in a statement.
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