Dallas Ebola patient Thomas Duncan dies

I don’t think anyone really believed that first-world medicine could cure any case of Ebola. The two Spanish missionaries who died after they’d returned to Spain were proof enough of that. But if you were under the impression that American hospitals are miracle-workers, you can discard that impression now.

Duncan, the first person ever diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, died at 7:51 a.m., according to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas.

“He fought courageously in this battle,” the hospital said in a statement.” Our professionals, the doctors and nurses in the unit, as well as the entire Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas community, are also grieving his passing. We have offered the family our support and condolences at this difficult time.”

Meanwhile, in Spain, the nurse who contracted Ebola from one of those missionaries told a newspaper that she’s feeling “a little better” recently — but said she has no idea how she picked up the virus. She changed one of the missionaries’ diapers and handled some of his belongings after he passed away, but she insists she took every precaution that the hospital mandated. Is she wrong? Or were the hospital’s precautions substandard?

Health workers at the Carlos III Hospital protested on Tuesday, and others have raised concerns that the protective suits used by workers treating Ebola patients at the facility are not adequate. According to the Spanish newspaper El Pais, hospital staff provided photos of protective suits that use latex gloves attached using tape. Hospital staff members told the paper that the protective equipment should have been completely impermeable, but that it was not. The workers also said that the suits did not allow for autonomous breathing…

Hospital staff also alleged that waste from the patient’s room was removed using an elevator that was shared by all hospital personnel, according to the Guardian.

One expert speculates that she might have taken proper precautions while treating the missionary but not when she was removing the protective clothing that she’d worn in his presence. Another tells CNN that it could be as simple as a defect in one of her rubber gloves or as complicated as the nurse having screwed up in a major way somehow and not wanting people to know. The fact that even a medical professional with more than 10 years of experience is claiming publicly that she doesn’t know how she caught the bug won’t reassure a jittery public about modes of transmission, though.

Speaking of which, per Gallup, 22 percent of Americans say they’re worried about getting Ebola while 61 percent say they’re at least somewhat confident in the feds’ ability to handle the risk. Expect those numbers to move slightly north and south, respectively, with the news today about Duncan.