August 25 – A brave British nurse has been flown back from Africa after contracting the Ebola virus while caring for patients in Sierra Leone. The nurse, identified as William Pooley, was under the care of a special containment ward in the Royal Free Hospital, London. Official sources said he was “not seriously unwell” at the time of his transfer back to the UK.
The Daily Telegraph quoted him as saying, before going out: “It’s the easiest situation in the world to make a difference. I’m not particularly experienced or skilled, but I can do the job and I am actually helping.”
Mr Pooley was praised by senior nurses for his commitment to the care of infected patients. He had travelled to the country to work in a hospice but volunteered to care for patients affected by the Ebola outbreak.
Royal College of Nursing chief executive Dr Peter Carter said: “William Pooley demonstrated incredible bravery and commitment in volunteering to provide nursing care in Sierra Leone for those with Ebola, and we wish him a speedy recovery.
“The dedication of frontline health care workers like William is essential for containing the spread of this virus. The risks they face are considerable but they are doing the best they can for their patients.”
Dr Bob Winter, National Clinical Director for Emergency Preparedness and Critical Care for NHS England, said: “NHS England, together with PHE, the Department of Health and other key stakeholders has been working hard over the past few weeks to ensure any patient who contracts Ebola and needs to be repatriated to the UK receives the best possible care and treatment.
“The NHS has a special unit at the Royal Free in London which is well prepared to receive this patient.”
The World Health Organisation said international health workers had been “essential” in helping local workers in west Africa to tackle the virus. Some 130 health workers in the affected countries have died and another 95 fallen ill. WHO has some 400 workers in the region.