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The Brief: Oct. 2, 2014

On the day after the country's first case of an Ebola infection appeared in Dallas, the focus has turned to the hospital where the patient was initially sent home with antibiotics before being admitted a second time for treatment.

An exterior view of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas on Oct. 1, 2014.

The Big Conversation

On the day after the country's first case of an Ebola infection appeared in Dallas, the focus has turned to the hospital where the patient was initially sent home with antibiotics before being admitted a second time for treatment.

"Thomas Eric Duncan of Liberia showed up at the Dallas emergency room about 10 p.m. Sept. 25 with what hospital officials said was fever and abdominal pain," reported Dianna Hunt of The Dallas Morning News. "A nurse questioned him about travel, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention protocol recommends, and Duncan acknowledged he had been in Liberia just seven days earlier, hospital officials said.

"But key members of the medical team were not alerted to his travel history. And instead of being placed in an isolation unit and tested for Ebola, as the guidelines issued two months ago suggest, he was given antibiotics and sent home, they said."

Authorities now have under observation 18 individuals — including five schoolchildren — who had come into contact with Duncan, reported the Tribune's Jay Root and Alexa Ura. They will remain under observation for up to 21 days. Meanwhile, the disclosure that students might have been exposed spurred some parents to take their children out of schools where those potentially exposed students attended.

The ripple effect was also felt on Wall Street, where airline stocks took a hit as the circumstances around this case highlighted the ease with which diseases can now travel the globe.

The heat, though, appears to be on Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital and whether health care workers there followed guidelines during their first encounter with Duncan. Ed Barker, a former general counsel for a large hospital system stretching from the Midwest to the West Coast, told Texas Lawyer, "I think sweating bullets is probably the right term. I would be concerned."

The Day Ahead

•    Democratic nominee for governor Wendy Davis is in Houston for a 10 a.m. address on "Austin's culture of corruption," according to her campaign.

•    Kathie Glass, the Libertarian Party nominee for governor, drops by the Austin Club for a TribLive conversation at 8 a.m. For those unable to attend, we will livestream the event.

•    The joint legislative committee on aging meets at 11 a.m. in the Betty King Committee Room in the Capitol to discuss the impact of Alzheimer's and related diseases in Texas. (agenda

Trib Must-Reads

Judge Throws a Wrench in Border Coal Project, by Julián Aguilar

UH Students Seek to Revive Residency Requirement, by Reeve Hamilton

Campaign Finance Database Updated, by Daniel Craigmile and Ryan Murphy

Younger Barbara Bush Looks to Global Health, by Bobby Blanchard

Court Backs Decision Reversing DeLay's Convictions, by Terri Langford


Texas House speaker: Road funding to be short even if Proposition 1 passes, The Dallas Morning News

Davis claims momentum as Abbott touts $30M in war chest, Houston Chronicle

Texas senator vows to expand DNA testing in innocence claims, Austin American-Statesman

State fires employee for alleged leak during contract talks, Houston Chronicle

Dallas DA Craig Watkins used forfeiture fund for bug sweep, The Dallas Morning News

In Ruling on California Town's Bankruptcy, Judge Challenges Sanctity of Pensions, The New York Times

Quote to Note

“I’m scared. I may keep them home all week.”

— Kia Collins, who has four children at Dallas' L.L. Hotchkiss Elementary where at least one student had contact with the man later diagnosed with the country's first case of Ebola

Today in TribTalk

5 public health threats in Texas scarier than Ebola, by Anna C. Dragsbaek

Trib Events for the Calendar

•    A Panel Discussion on Changing Population, Changing Health Care, on Oct. 6 at Rice University's Baker Institute in Houston

•    A Conversation With Sam Houston, 2014 Democratic Nominee for Attorney General, on Oct. 16 at The Austin Club

•    A Conversation With state Sen. Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville, and state Rep. Travis Clardy, R-Nacogdoches, on Oct. 22 at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches

•    A Conversation With Railroad Commission Candidates Steve Brown and Ryan Sitton, on Oct. 30 at The Austin Club in Austin

•    A Live Post-Election TribCast, featuring Tribune editors and reporters on the election results, on Nov. 5 at The Austin Club

•    A Conversation With Railroad Commissioner Christi Craddick on Nov. 6 at The Austin Club

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Energy Environment Health care Higher education Politics Greg Abbott Joe Straus Rodney Ellis Wendy Davis