Burson hired by Dallas hospital at center of US Ebola crisis

Burson-Marsteller was hired by Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, the medical center in Dallas where Ebola patient Thomas Duncan died and two nurses reportedly contracted the disease, last week, according to The New York Times.

Photo via Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital

Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, the epicenter of the Ebola crisis in the US, brought on Burson-Marsteller for communications support last Friday, according to a report in The New York Times.

The story noted that the WPP firm was hired last week for communications support, but did not describe the hospital’s communications strategy in-depth. It noted that Dr. Daniel Varga, chief clinical officer of Texas Health Resources, acknowledged mistakes the hospital made during the treatment of Thomas Duncan, who died last week.

A Burson representative confirmed the agency started working with the hospital last Friday.

The medical center is under scrutiny for its handling of the Duncan case, specifically whether its staff followed procedures that would keep them safe from contracting the disease. Two nurses who attended to Duncan have tested positive for Ebola in the past week.

On Wednesday, leaders from National Nurses United said at a press conference that the hospital did not properly train or assign protective equipment to medical professionals caring for Duncan. The group called on President Barack Obama to create uniform standards for treating Ebola patients.

The hospital rebutted the group's accusations on Thursday morning with a statement issued, among other places, on its Facebook timeline.

Varga apologized in prepared remarks for the hospital’s treatment of Duncan, who was initially sent home before he was readmitted in worse condition. "Despite our best intentions and a highly skilled medical team, we made mistakes," he said in the statement, according to BuzzFeed. "We did not correctly diagnose his symptoms as those of Ebola. We are deeply sorry."

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