The doctor who was the first U.S. Ebola patient to be treated in America testified before a congressional committee today recalling the horror and "humiliation" of a disease that has killed thousands.
Dr. Kent Brantly, working on behalf of the U.S.-based missionary group Samaritan's Purse, was treating patients in Monrovia, Liberia, when he became infected with the Ebola virus in July. Brantly was evacuated to Emory University Hospital, where he was treated and eventually recovered.
The Ebola outbreak continues to grow throughout West Africa with an estimated 2,461 deaths attributed to the virus and thousands more infected.
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Now just a few weeks after being discharged from Emory, Brantly was able to speak out about what he saw as a doctor and a patient during this Ebola outbreak -- the worst on record since the virus was first identified in the 1970s. During his testimony, Brantly urged Congress and government officials to give more aid and personnel to try and stop the outbreak, which President Obama today said is "spiraling out of control."
You can read a few of Brantly’s most affecting remarks from his testimony below.
- "I came to understand firsthand what my own patients had suffered. I was isolated from my family, and I was unsure if I would ever see them again," Brantly said of his time being an Ebola patient in Liberia. "I experienced the humiliation of losing control of my bodily functions and faced the horror of vomiting blood -- a sign of the internal bleeding that could have eventually led to my death."
- "Many have used the analogy of a fire burning out of control to describe this unprecedented Ebola outbreak. Indeed it is a fire -- a fire straight from the pit of hell. We cannot fool ourselves into thinking that the vast moat of the Atlantic Ocean will keep the flames away from our shores."
- "It is grueling work," Brantly said of treating Ebola patients in Liberia. "The personal protective equipment (PPE) we wore in the Ebola Treatment Unit becomes excruciatingly hot, with temperatures inside the suit reaching up to 115 degrees. It cannot be worn for more than an hour and a half."
- "If we do not do something to stop this outbreak now, it quickly could become a matter of U.S. national security -- whether that means a regional war that gives terrorist groups like Boko Haram a foothold in West Africa or the spread of the disease into America."