FrontPageAfrica (Monrovia)

26 July 2014

Liberia: Ebola Claims Life of JFK Chief Medical Doctor, Samuel Brisbane

Photo: Samaritan's Purse
Dr. Brantly makes chlorine solution for disinfection at the case management center at ELWA Hospital in Monrovia before he was infected with the virus.

Monrovia — Dr. Samuel Brisbane, the Chief Medical Doctor at Liberia's leading hospital, the John F. Kennedy Medical Center has become the latest casualty of the deadly Ebola virus.

Dr. Brisbane, also a former Chief Medical Doctor at the Firestone Rubber Plantation Hospital had been quarantined along with a Physician Assistant and Doctor Nelson Korkor, the lead doctor at Phebe who was brought down to Monrovia three days ago after contracting the virus.

Hospital sources say, Dr. Brisbane selected to treat himself at home initially in a bid not to spread the virus to others but was brought to the ELWA hospital where the Samaritan Group has been treating serious cases, when the illness worsened, until his death, Saturday.

A hospital official told FrontPageAfrica Friday that Dr. Brisbane and the other ailing health workers were holding onto life, but that Dr. Brisbane vomited occasionally. The PA, however, is still said to be deteriorating, a senior hospital administrator told FrontPageAfrica on condition of anonymity. Dr. Brisbane's death comes just a day after the JFK's ER Wing was shut down and patients already in care moved to another floor in the hospital. Health care workers are bearing the brunt of the deadly outbreak.

During programs marking the 167 Independence of Liberia, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf paid homage to the late Dr. Sam Mutooro Muhumuza, a Ugandan national, and all the health workers around the country who have made the ultimate sacrifice in saving lives. "To their families, loved ones, associates, we extend our heartfelt sympathy," she said, adding that the government will shortly reach out to the families of the departed health workers to bring them comfort in their times of trials and tribulations.

President Sirleaf expressed appreciation to all the health workers - doctors, nurses, para-medics - who continue to be of service to the Liberian people in the midst of danger to themselves. "We like to say to them how much we appreciate what they do to contribute to helping the country arrest the deadly Ebola disease."

Early Friday morning, Mr. Patrick Sawyer, a consultant at the Ministry of Finance, who had been quarantined since falling ill after arriving in the Nigerian state of Lagos for a conference last Sunday, died.

Nigerian government health authorities announced Thursday that Sawyer, 40, was being tested for the deadly Ebola virus in Nigeria's commercial capital of Lagos, a megacity of 21 million people. Sawyer's death is the first recorded case of one of the world's deadliest diseases in Nigeria, Africa's biggest economy and most populous nation, with 170 million people and some of Africa's least adequate health infrastructure.

In neighboring Sierra Leone, virologist Sheik Umar Khan, the lead doctor credited with helping a lot of cases, is now himself being treated by doctors from the organization Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders). The World Health Organization, in partnership with the Ministries of Health in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia, announced a cumulative total of 1093 suspects and confirmed cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD) and 660 deaths, as of July 20, 2014. Of the 1093 clinical cases, 786 cases have been laboratory confirmed for Ebola virus infection.

In Guinea, 415 cases, including 314 fatal cases and 304 laboratory confirmations of EVD, were reported by the Ministry of Health (MoH) of Guinea and WHO as of July 20, 2014. Active surveillance continues in Conakry, Guéckédou, Boffa, Dubreka, and Fria Districts.

In Sierra Leone, WHO and the Ministry of Health and Sanitation of Sierra Leone reported a cumulative total of 454 suspects and confirmed cases of EHF as of July 20, 2014. Of these 454, 405 cases have been laboratory confirmed and 219 were fatal. Districts reporting clinical EVD patients include Kailahun, Kenema, Kambia, Port Loko, Western, and Bo. Reports, investigations, and testing of suspect cases continue across the country. Laboratory testing is being conducted in Kenema and Kailahun cities.

As of July 20, 2014, the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare of Liberia and WHO reported 224 clinical cases of EVD, including 77 laboratory confirmations and 127 fatal cases. Cases since May have been reported from Lofa, Montserado, Margibi, and more recently, Bomi, Bong, and Nimba Counties. Laboratory testing is being conducted in Monrovia.

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