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Ebola Patient Dies in German Hospital

A 56-year-old male Ebola patient who had been working with the United Nations in Liberia died overnight at the hospital in Leipzig where he was being treated, the hospital said Tuesday in a statement quoted by the German news media.

The brief statement gave no further details. The man was the third patient to arrive in Germany in recent weeks for treatment of Ebola, and the first to die.

The first patient, a Senegalese man who worked for the World Health Organization, was treated in Hamburg from late August until Oct. 3, when he was released. He has since returned home. The second patient, a Ugandan doctor who was working in West Africa for an Italian aid organization, continues to receive treatment at a hospital in Frankfurt.

The St. Georg clinic in Leipzig, where the man who died was treated, announced his arrival last Thursday in a statement. At the time, doctors said his condition was critical, but stable, and there were no further updates on his status.

The hospital gave assurances that the third patient would be safely isolated. "There is no risk of infection for other patients, relatives, visitors or the public," Dr. Iris Minde, the chief executive of the clinic, said in a statement when he was admitted. "We follow strictest hygienic protocols according to latest standards."

Dr. Thomas Grünewald, senior physician at the Clinic for Infectious Diseases and Nephrologyat the hospital, said the patient would be tended around the clock by at least one doctor and a nurse "in protection suits."

He said then that the staff "was perfectly prepared," and had been training with a system of airlocks that hermetically sealed special negative pressure rooms used in the isolation ward.

Bild, a best-selling daily newspaper, questioned Monday whether the clinic was able to dispose safely of medical waste. It quoted the hospital as saying that it was set to receive the delivery only on Tuesday of a special machine that disinfects protection suits, gloves and masks before they are burned.

Attempts to reach hospital personnel for comment on both Monday and Tuesday were unsuccessful. By midmorning, the hospital's website had not been updated with news of the death, but a brief statement was issued to the German news media.

[Source: By Alison Smale, The New York Times, Berlin, 14Oct14]

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small logoThis document has been published on 15Oct14 by the Equipo Nizkor and Derechos Human Rights. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.