The Ebola virus is just another reason why we should seize the day
By Margaret Matthews, Senior Columnist
The first Ebola patient in the United States, 42-year-old Thomas Eric Duncan, died not long after his arrival from Liberia. He had been working there as a driver for a courier company, and had been exposed to the deadly virus.
He tested positive on September 30 and was kept in isolation at a Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, where he was treated with an experimental drug. On October 8, the hospital announced his passing. While three American aid workers and a photojournalist also contracted Ebola while residing in Liberia, they were brought back to the United States and treated with a vaccine, resulting in three recoveries; however, this was not the case for Duncan. Prior to his death, he went to the hospital and was sent home with antibiotics, which did not cure him. He was then admitted to the hospital and treated with another experimental drug, but did not survive.
No one can predict when it’s time to depart this world. Does life have to be so cruel and unfair? The Ebola virus has currently taken the lives of over 4,000 people in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea. US President Barack Obama said: “[Duncan’s] death showed we don’t have a lot of margin for error. If we don’t follow protocols and procedures that are put in place, then we’re putting folks in our communities at risk.”
The saddest part of Duncan’s passing was that his life-long wish of seeing his young son—whom he had not seen since the boy was around three years old, when he was taken away to live in the United States—was not fulfilled. He wanted to be at his graduation and be proud of what he had achieved scholastically, but it was not to be. It took decades for Duncan to obtain his immigration documents and to see his young son again, but when he did arrive in the US he tested positive for Ebola, thus preventing any visitors from visiting him at the hospital. Circumstances prevented them both from seeing each other. It just wasn’t meant to be.
When it’s time for one to go, there is no asking for an extension of time. There are no two ways about it.