US doctor has a new calling
JUST two weeks after Kent Brantly, the first person to be treated on US soil for Ebola, walked out of Emory University Hospital cured of the deadly virus, he received a call.
Another doctor, Rick Sacra, was infected. Would he be willing to donate some of his blood?
“I said: ‘I would give Rick Sacra my right arm if it would help him,’ ” Brantly told reporters.
Brantly, 33, who was infected with Ebola while working as a missionary doctor in Liberia, became a household name on August 2 as news outlets showed him walking, covered in protective gear, into the entrance at Emory in Atlanta. Brantly says his new mission is to raise awareness about the Ebola outbreak.
“If I were still in Liberia, I’d be treating 50 patients in an Ebola treatment unit. Here, with this platform, hopefully my message can have an effect that will help thousands,” he said.
Brantly continues to share his antibody-enriched blood with other patients. While the use of survivor’s blood isn’t a proven therapy against Ebola, the World Health Organisation urged in September it be used as an experimental treatment. Survivors develop antibodies that recognise the virus and, in theory, donating some to a sick patient may help.
A month after giving his blood to Sacra, Brantly was driving across the country when he was called again. Ashoka Mukpo, a cameraman for NBC (the TV network), had been admitted with Ebola in Omaha and his blood type matched Brantly’s.
He stopped the car in Kansas City, Missouri, at a local blood bank, where his blood was drawn and sent to Nebraska.
Brantly called on lawmakers to do away with 21day quarantine requirements for health workers returning from West Africa, and instead provide incentives for more doctors to volunteer in the affected countries. – Bloomberg
ON A MISSION: Kent Brantly