Ebola highlights public health crisis

The death of Liberian national Thomas Eric Duncan, who succumbed to Ebola in a Dallas hospital, is of course tragic. But the extraordinarily poor way his case appears to have been handled may also inadvertently have done the United States an enormous service -- not just in shining a light on the threat posed by this virus but also by revealing the profound problems both in our health care delivery system and the public health programs supposed to help prevent outbreaks, track contacts and control the spread of disease.

Some of the hospital's actions -- including failing to communicate the level of concern for Duncan as a possible Ebola case, sending him home before properly evaluating him and possibly delaying in getting him medications that might have helped if given earlier -- were judgment errors that should never have happened.