DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Some Greyhound bus passengers are questioning whether they were exposed to an illness after they say they were forced to share a bus with a sick passenger.
“We both noticed how sick he was and then he started coughing and hacking up blood,” says Erin Dent.
Dent and fellow passenger Doreen Krueger are now concerned that they may have been exposed to Tuberculosis – after riding alongside the sick passenger for nearly two days. Krueger says he boarded the bus in Los Angeles, California on Saturday. She says as the bus continued east, his illness appeared to worsen.
“He was coughing and hacking,” Krueger explains.
She says riders grew restless and demanded that the bus driver remove the sick passenger. Greyhound confirms the driver pulled over in west Texas and called paramedics.
“They stopped in Van Horn and called an ambulance,” recalls Kreuger. “The ambulance said we couldn’t test him for TB because it would take 2 days.”
The ill passenger was allowed to continue on the trip if he agreed to wear a mask. But riders say the man was deaf and there was a communication break down.
“Both different drivers said ‘Put hands over your mouth or hold this over your mouth,’ he would not do it,” says Krueger.
Krueger said she and dozens of others wanted to get off the bus but paramedics convinced them to stay on.
“I’d already been with him a day and a half,” she says. “The ambulance said it wouldn’t make any difference if (I had) already been exposed.”
Dent also says new passengers were allowed to board.
Once the bus reached Dallas, passengers were given complaint forms to voice their concerns, but Dent and Krueger say they need more than a pen and paper to address their worries
“If we’ve been exposed then everybody we come in contact with from now on can be exposed, so we’re real concerned about our families,” says Dent.
Greyhound says it has no record of where the passenger is at this time or if he went to the hospital. Company executives told CBS 11’s Sharrie Williams that the bus driver followed correct protocol and that the sick passenger did wear the mask as he was instructed to.
CBS 11 contacted Dallas County Health and Human Services about this story, which is offering free TB tests to anyone who was a passenger on the bus.
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