The former Fort Worth family practice doctor who contracted Ebola in Liberia is “growing stronger every day.” Dr. Kent Brantly, who is being treated in isolation at Emory Hospital in Atlanta, issued a statement August 8 via Samaritan’s Purse, the Christian organization for which he served, expressing gratitude for prayers on his behalf.
“The doctors and nurses are providing the very best care possible,” the statement reads in part. “I am growing stronger every day, and I thank God for His mercy as I have wrestled with this terrible disease.
“I also want to extend my deep and sincere thanks to all of you who have been praying for my recovery as well as for Nancy Writebol and for the people of Liberia and West Africa.”
Brantly, who completed his residency at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth before joining Samaritan’s Purse, became infected with the disease while treating patients during his missionary work. Fellow American missionary Writebol also contracted Ebola and is being treated in the isolation unit at Emory. Both Brantly and Writebol received a dose of an experimental serum while still in Liberia.
Brantly arrived back in the United States on August 2, via a medical evacuation plane equipped with a special containment unit. Dr. Tom Frieden, director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told news outlets that Brantly’s progress was “encouraging.”
Brantly’s wife, Amber, has been visiting him every day, according to Samaritan’s Purse, and she says he has been in good spirits. Amber and their two children were also living in Liberia but had flown back home to the United States prior to Brantly’s showing signs of illness.
In his statement, Brantly spoke about how he believed he was called to serve in Liberia and how he remembers the faces and names of those who lost their lives:
One thing I have learned is that following God often leads us to unexpected places. When Ebola spread into Liberia, my usual hospital work turned more and more toward treating the increasing number of Ebola patients. I held the hands of countless individuals as this terrible disease took their lives away from them. I witnessed the horror firsthand, and I can still remember every face and name.
When I started feeling ill on that Wednesday morning, I immediately isolated myself until the test confirmed my diagnosis three days later. When the result was positive, I remember a deep sense of peace that was beyond all understanding. God was reminding me of what He had taught me years ago, that He will give me everything I need to be faithful to Him.
Now it is two weeks later, and I am in a totally different setting. My focus, however, remains the same—to follow God. As you continue to pray for Nancy and me, yes, please pray for our recovery. More importantly, pray that we would be faithful to God’s call on our lives in these new circumstances.
There is no known cure for Ebola, which was first discovered in 1976. This disease is not airborne; it spreads through direct contact with blood and other bodily fluids as well as “environments contaminated with such fluids,” according to the World Health Organization.
More than 1,300 people have been infected with Ebola in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia since the outbreak began in March. WHO estimates that 729 people have died from the disease during the current outbreak.
Emory Hospital is issuing information about Ebola and its treatments via Twitter.