Texas hospital official: 'We are deeply sorry'

A top Texas hospital official is skipping a congressional hearing Thursday but is admitting to lawmakers that mistakes were made in the handling of the first Ebola diagnosis in the U.S. and that those involved "are deeply sorry."


Dr. Daniel Varga, chief clinical officer for Texas Health Resources, which overseas the hospital that treated Thomas Eric Duncan, said in written testimony to lawmakers that "despite our best intentions and a highly skilled medical staff, we made mistakes.”

"We did not correctly diagnose his symptoms as those of Ebola. We are deeply sorry," Varga said in prepared testimony.

Varga, along with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Thomas Frieden and other health officials, was scheduled to testify Thursday before members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee's subpanel on Oversight and Investigations.

The Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S., died last week, and two nurses who cared for him at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas have since contracted the virus.

In detailing lessons learned from the cases, Varga noted in a letter to Chairman Tim Murphy (R-Pa.), Vice Chairman Michael BurgessMichael Clifton BurgessAmericans have decided to give professionals a chance Six ways to visualize a divided America Capitol Police tribute turns political MORE (R-Texas) and Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), the subcommittee's ranking member, that Ebola diagnosis and treatment are "very different" and that communication is "no substitute for training." He also mentioned steps taken to prevent further cases.

"So far, traveler self-reported screening procedures and hospital infection control measures have been demonstrated failures," Murphy said in a statement Wednesday announcing the hearing.