Ebola Survivor Dr. Kent Brantly Urges Action From Congress

U.S. government is planning new aid to Ebola-ravaged West Africa.
11:19 | 09/16/14

Coming up in the next {{countdown}} {{countdownlbl}}

Coming up next:



Skip to this video now

Now Playing:


Related Extras
Related Videos
Video Transcript
Transcript for Ebola Survivor Dr. Kent Brantly Urges Action From Congress
Remarkably seen doctor can't Brantley who contracted Ebola and West Africa healed now. And chatting this afternoon with President Obama today at the White House hello everyone I'm Michelle Franzen in New York the president unveiled. His new plan to combat the outbreak earlier today. Now doctor Brantley is preparing to speak to a special senate panel let's listen in to his remark. About the unprecedented Ebola Virus outbreak that's occurring in West Africa. Has already claimed thousands of lives. And threatens to kill tens of thousands more. Let me also take this opportunity think each and every one -- -- I know there were many people maybe some of the on this committee who helped play a role in bringing home when I was so sick and -- won't say thank you. On October 16 2013. I moved to Liberia with my family to serve as a medical missionary -- EL WA hospital. In the capital city of Monrovia I worked as a position to support the woefully inadequate health care system. In a country that its -- that it still struggling to recover from brutal civil war. In late march of this year we've learned that there -- there were cases of -- in our region. And we begin preparing our staff. As well as our facility. To be ready to care for patients in the safest way possible should that need to rise. Three months later in June. Our hospital had the only available -- treatment unit in southern Liberia. And I was one of only two physicians to treat the first infected individuals and that in that area. From June 11 will receive their first patient until July 20. The number of cases continue to grow and an incredible rate. The disease inspire going out of control it was clear that we are not equipped to fight it effectively on our own. We began to call for more international assistance. But -- -- -- to fall on deaf ears. As the Ebola buyers continue to consume my patients. I witnessed the horror that this disease visits -- its victims. The intense pain and humiliation of those who suffer with that the -- -- fear and superstition that pervades communities. And the violence and unrest that now threatens entire nations. Then on July 23. I fell ill. Three days later I learned that I -- tested positive for Ebola Virus disease. And I came to understand firsthand what my patients that suffered. I was isolated and I'm sure I would ever -- -- extremely again. Even though I knew most of my caregivers. I could see nothing but their eyes through their protective goggles when -- came to treat me. I experience that million nation of losing control of my bodily functions. -- -- face the horror of vomiting blood. A sign of the internal bleeding that could have led to my death. I'm grateful to the team that worked tirelessly -- keep me alive in Liberia. And despite -- -- despite a severe lack of medical resources. They they were courageous. I was then evacuated to Emory university hospital where I eventually became one of the -- to recover from -- As a survivor does not only my privilege. But it is my duty. To speak out on behalf of the people of West Africa who continue to face unspeakable devastation. Because of this horrific disease. This unprecedented outbreak. -- very little notice from the international community until those events -- mid July when Nancy rival and I became infected. Since that time there has been intense media attention. And increased awareness of the situation on the ground in West Africa. The response to date however. Has remained sluggish. And unacceptably out of step with. With the scope and the size of problem that is now before us. United States government has been closely following these events in West Africa since that time if not before. And only now are we seeing a significant commitment to a solution. I had the privilege and honor of meeting with President Obama this morning. And we discussed his commitment of more military and medical resources to fight this epidemic. He's also requested increase funding for that for the CDC. I think -- for entering into this battle with us and a larger way. Now it is imperative that these words are backed up by immediate action. To control this outbreak and save the lives of thousands of west west Africans. And possibly many Americans. We need to promised -- treatment units the surge in health care workers. The US military regional command and control senator and we needed immediately. We also need -- 400000 home treatment kits that have been committed to be sent without delay. There's no time to waste of weird to contain Ebola and adequately care for the thousands of people that epidemiologist. Are now predicting will fall victim. In just the next few weeks. The US military must establish and maintain an air bridge to deliver critically needed personnel and medical supplies. And to continue bringing in more resources in the future. We cannot turn the tide of this disease. Without regular flights of personnel and large cargo loads of equipment and supplies. I'm grateful to the president for his decision to send tens of thousands of -- test kits to the region. But these will only be helpful. If we also deployed all available mobile laboratories. An increase funding for more to be built as quickly as possible. During my time in Liberia the laboratory we use to confirm Ebola Virus infection. In patients was 45 minutes away from our hospital. And it was inadequately staffed. The turnaround time to positively identify any -- case was anywhere from twelve to 36 hours after the blood was strong. If a patient is not infected with the virus. That can be a life threatening delay. More kits are not effective unless we have the facilities and the staffing to use them. As the as the first human being to ever receive the experimental drugs the map. I'm a strong advocate for the CDC and NIH. As they research vaccines and drugs as we've just heard about. And these these drugs can give patients hope for recovery. I'm deeply grateful to the personnel map biopharmaceuticals. Who even before this outbreak dedicated their lives. To combating Ebola. We cannot wait however for magic bullet to halt the spread of does that this virus in West Africa the current epidemic is beyond anything we've seen before. And it's time to think outside the box. I realize -- home health care interventions. Can be controversial. However we know that many -- positive people are staying at home and even hiding after the become infected. Because of fear and superstition their families. Either abandon them or they lovingly care for them in ways that almost always result in infection of the caregivers. This is a major contributor to the spread of Ebola and we cannot contain the disease without addressing this problem head on. Caregivers must be trained in safety measures and supplied with basic protective equipment. So taking care for their loved ones while protecting themselves. As a number of survivors increases. These individuals should be mobilized to help educate and support their own communities. They would be a powerful witness that the disease is not 100% fatal. And it could provide much needed support to those who -- trying to do what is best for their family members. Admittedly home care is less ideal than than treatment in an isolation unit. In the home it's impossible to administer IV fluids and other supportive medical. Interventions. However there are not enough beds in the -- treatment units right now and many infected people are choosing to suffer and die at home. The least we can do is try to give their caregivers -- information and resources they need to protect themselves from this deadly virus. All of these interventions that are needed to stop this horrendous. Trans national outbreak require significant funding. And budgets must be adjusted appropriately. This is not simply a matter providing humanitarian aid is very much and national security concern. One of my patients in Liberia was a man named Francis. Like most patients at first he was fearful. But eventually he shared the story of how -- contracted the disease. He said to me -- I remember -- through the man was that I got this infection from. The city was sick at home has -- under his condition worsened. And when he became vomiting blood everyone around -- fled. But his wife was determined to get him to the hospital. Since no one else was around -- help Francis went to this man's house and helped carry him out of the house and implement a taxi. On the way to the hospital that -- died. If someone. Had come alongside Francis. And giving him a little bit of education. And provided him with a personal protective equipment he needed. His family would still have their father. And their son. And their brother. And the world might still have this good samaritan. But unfortunately Frances. Fell victim to -- and died. Many including one of the senators today. Use the analogy of a fire burning out of control to describe this unprecedented Ebola outbreak. Indeed it is -- fire. Is a fire straight from the pit of hell. We cannot fool ourselves and thinking. That the best mode of the Atlantic Ocean -- protect us from the flames of this fire. Instead we must move quickly and immediately to deliver the promises that have been made. And to be open to practical. Innovative interventions. This is the only way to keep entire nations from being reduced to ashes. Thank you very much mr. chairman. Thank you -- where. Thank you for courage. And for being here being an example thank you. We'll get on -- question for mr. Charles. Welcome and you were listening to doctor -- Brantley speaking before. A hearing today on Capitol Hill -- very passionate. Personal plea forums news the government. To throw more resources at the -- -- virus of course you can keep up with the story in real time by downloading. The ABC news happens star in the story for exclusive updates on the go. For now I'm Michelle Franzen in New York.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

{"duration":"11:19","description":"U.S. government is planning new aid to Ebola-ravaged West Africa.","mediaType":"default","section":"ABCNews/Health","id":"25550613","title":"Ebola Survivor Dr. Kent Brantly Urges Action From Congress","url":"/Health/video/ebola-survivor-dr-kent-brantly-senate-hearing-testimony-25550613"}