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Views & Reviews No Holds Barred

Courage is treating patients with Ebola

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g4987 (Published 04 August 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g4987
  1. Margaret McCartney, general practitioner, Glasgow
  1. margaret@margaretmccartney.com

Sheik Umar Khan, a doctor in Sierra Leone, knew the risks. “I am afraid for my life, I must say, because I cherish my life,” he said. “Health workers are prone to the disease because we are the first port of call for somebody who is sickened by the disease. Even with the full protective clothing you put on, you are at risk.”1

His words came before he contracted Ebola virus and died on 29 July.2 Three nurses he worked with had already died from the disease.3 And the World Health Organization has described this as the worst Ebola outbreak ever, with more than 660 deaths in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia.4 This highly infective virus is likely …

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