Dallas Ebola patient has died


Thomas Eric Duncan

Dallas Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan died at 7:51 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 8, according to a statement by Texas Health Resources’ Public Relations Director Wendell Watson.

“Mr. Duncan succumbed to an insidious disease, Ebola,” Watson said in the statement posted on the THR website. “He fought courageously in this battle. 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.”

Both Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins and Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings issued statements regarding Duncan’s death.

Jenkins said his thoughts are with Duncan’s family, praising the hospital staff that treated and cared for Duncan, and offering “prayers of comfort and peace to everyone impacted by his passing.”

Rawlins offered “deepest sympathies” to Duncan’s family and friends but also reiterated his pledge to avoid more cases of the deadly virus in Dallas: “We will stop the Ebola virus in its tracks from spreading into our community.”

—  Tammye Nash

Death • 12.24.10

Heather MorrisonHeather Morrison, 45, died Wednesday, Dec. 15. She was a proud and active member in the LGBT community and a member of the Cathedral of Hope where she had served as the facilities and operations manager for many years. She also played in the CoH orchestra, where her amazing talent on the trumpet could be heard on many solo occasions. Additionally, Morrison was very proud to serve as the assistant conductor and the director of Jazzful Noise.

She carried her passion for music to her next position at Texas Health Resources Presbyterian Hospital Dallas where she had recently been promoted to security supervisor. Morrison started a choir and within the first few months, she had 60-plus members who loved and admired her. She was also loved by the hospital staff.

While Morrison was at the hospital, a high level administrator paying respects said, ”If we had a vote on the favorite employee, out of the 6,000, Heather would win!”

Texas Health Resources has officially renamed the choir to The Heather Morrison THR Choir. She was so loved by THR that they have honored her with an engraved brick in the THR Memorial Garden.

Morrison’s life will be celebrated in a service at her home church, Cathedral of Hope. It will be a service filled with the music that she so loved and used as a platform to share her love of life and her love of God. A date has not been set at this time. For information, e-mail CelebrateHeather@ gmail.com.

Also at this service, in honor of Morrison, Donald D. Campbell, the funeral director and assistant funeral home manager at Moore Funeral Home in Arlington, will participate. He can be reached at 817-804-2423 or Donald.campbell@sci-us.com. He has been a blessing and a fount of information in this difficult time. Information important to the final wishes of our loved ones will be available as well as notaries. If you would like to receive an e-mail copy of these documents to have ready to be notarized, please e-mail CelebrateHeather@ gmail.com with the subject line “Legacy.” The family hopes it will be one of Morrison’s legacies, that wishes be honored and loved ones be acknowledged.

Morrison was preceded in death by her father, Thomas Aaron Morrison; and grandparents, John and Mary Mitchell and Charles and Mary Morrison.

She is survived by her loving partner, Annabelle Bowden and step-son Christian Bowden; her mother, Jane Mitchell Morrison; brother, Matthew James Morrison and wife, Tina; sister, Kelli Ann Fredericksen and husband, Donovan; nieces and nephews, Chris, Andrew and Lauren Fredericksen, Ally and Lee Morrison and Chrysse Morrison Leach; one great-nephew, Jamie Leach; numerous loving members of her family of choice and many, many friends.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 24, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

Oak Cliff HIV doc takes over Bellos’ practice

Experienced HIV doc says denial of insurance claims forcing him to leave his Oak Lawn practice

DAVID TAFFET  |  taffet@dallasvoice.com


As of Dec. 15, patients of Dr. Nick Bellos will have a new primary care physician. Dr. Stockton Roberts will head the practice.

Over the last several years, Bellos, said, Blue Cross has denied or failed to pay more than half a million dollars to his practice. He said the insurance company said claims were incorrectly coded, or that they hadn’t received the claims. But the doctor said even after the coding was corrected and claims were resubmitted, Blue Cross still didn’t pay.

Unless they come to an agreement over the next few weeks, Texas Health Resources, which operates Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, Harris Methodist Hospital in Fort Worth and 14 other DFW area hospitals, will stop taking Blue Cross on Jan. 1, presumably for similar reasons.

In July, Bellos sold his practice to Medical Edge, a physician group in Dallas with more than 450 doctors. They take care of the business operations and pay doctors based on the profitability of the practice.

But, “It became obvious it wasn’t going to work out financially,” Bellos said.

He resigned effective Dec. 15.

Roberts has practiced in Oak Cliff for five years when he took over the practice of Dr. David Brand upon his retirement. Medical Edge also employs him.

Roberts will combine Bellos’ practice of more than 3,000 patients with his own of about 2,000 patients. Four members of Bellos’ staff will remain at the Lemmon Avenue office.

Roberts said he plans to spend most of his time in the Oak Lawn office but will continue in Oak Cliff on Fridays. He said his lease in Oak Cliff will be up at the end of January and he will decide then whether to renew it.

Roberts said Medical Edge asked him to take over Bellos’ practice because he is the only other physician in that company with an HIV practice.

“I want to make sure those with HIV are taken care of,” he said. “Nick [Bellos] will be a resource for me.”

Roberts said he hopes to add another doctor to the practice soon and is looking into ways to increase profit. He’s hoping his Oak Cliff patients will follow him to the new office.

He called his Oak Cliff practice quite diverse.

“If you don’t fit anywhere else, you fit here,” he said.

Roberts said that description fits him well, too. He was married and has three children but came out about five years ago and now has a partner. They live in Arlington. He maintains an apartment in Fort Worth near his children and practices in Dallas.

Bellos is not quite sure what his plans are. He’s considering legal action against Blue Cross.

“I want to thank all the patients who have allowed me to be part of their journey for the past 30 years,” he said. “But it’s time to open a new chapter and continue to be of help to the HIV community in another capacity.”

Because of a non-compete clause in his contract with Medical Edge, he cannot practice with patients for a year. However, he’s hoping to expand the clinical trials and research he conducts at a new location. Those on his research staff will remain with him.

As one of the most experienced HIV infectious disease physicians — having treated patients with the disease since the beginning of the epidemic — Bellos is frequently invited to speak around the world. In January, he will be speaking in Australia.

Bellos’ timing of his announcement was related to some changes in law.

On Jan. 1, several new provisions of health care reform kick in. The lifetime cap for benefits will be eliminated. Denial of insurance because of pre-existing conditions will be removed for anyone under 19 years old. That will extend to everyone in two years.

Beginning in 2011, minors can continue to be covered on their parents’ policies until age 26. Wellness screenings must be included free of charge. Deductibles are increasing and co-pays no longer count toward those deductibles.

While the goal is covering more people, insurance companies are rapidly raising rates to cover these added expenses.

Along with increased coverage, however, will come decreased payments to physicians.

Medicare payments to doctors will decrease by 25 percent, unless addressed by the end of the year. Insurance companies follow Medicare reimbursements closely.

“The ability to run an office and pay a staff is going to be difficult,” Bellos said.

Roberts believes he can turn the larger, combined practice into something profitable. He plans to add at least one more physician and keep electronic medical records. He said he’s meeting with infectious disease doctors to forge new relationships to benefit his patients.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 10, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas