Having and Fighting Ebola: Public Health Lessons From a Clinician Turned Patient

While treating patients with Ebola in Guinea, I kept a journal to record my perceived level of risk of being infected with the deadly virus. A friend who’d volunteered previously had told me that such a journal comforted him when he looked back and saw no serious breach of protocol or significant exposure. On a spreadsheet delineating three levels of risk — minimal, moderate, and high — I’d been able to check off minimal risk every day after caring for patients. Yet on October 23, 2014, I entered Bellevue Hospital as New York City’s first Ebola patient.

Though I didn’t know it then — I had no television and was too weak to read the news — during the first few days of my hospitalization, I was being vilified in the media even as my liver was failing and my fiancée was quarantined in our apartment. One day, I ate only a cup of fruit — and held it down for less than an hour. I lost 20 lb, was febrile for 2 weeks, and struggled to the bathroom up to a dozen times a day. But these details of my illness are not unique. For months, we’ve heard how infected —> Read More Here


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