A team with USAID trained to handle the corpses of those
Ebola at work in Monrovia, Liberia last week.
Can Learn from the Death of Thomas Eric Duncan (Daily Observer, Liberia)
death in a United States hospital of Ebola-infected Eric Duncan teach us
anything? … We believe it surely can. The first lesson to learn is that none of
us should take Ebola for granted. It can be, and it often indeed is, a death
sentence, although as we have seen in the case of many survivors, it doesn't
have to be. Then there is a lesson we Liberians have difficulty learning: The
Americans, like most other nationalities, know how to look after one another. Do
we in Liberia? NO! We prefer looking after other people rather than ourselves. See
how two Lebanese rapists who viciously assaulted Liberian women were freed by
Liberian courts. … What is the lesson there?"
Can the death in a United States hospital of Ebola-infected
Thomas Eric Duncan teach us anything?
We believe it surely can. The first lesson to learn is that
none of us should take Ebola for granted. It can be, and it often indeed is, a
death sentence, although as we have seen in the case of many survivors, it
doesn't have to be.
When in 1976, Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo)
reported the first Ebola outbreak, 90 percent of those who were infected died.
Today in Liberia, statistics indicate that the death rate is just over 50
percent. This means that even now, we are dealing with a highly dangerous,
indeed deadly disease.
The second lesson we can learn from Eric's death is that the
minute we sense symptoms, we should rush to a treatment center. Once there, the
ball is in the government’s court. These centers must be prepared for receiving
patients and immediately begin to observe, treat and care. Too many people have
died unnecessarily because in their desperation, they have gone to treatment
centers only to be turned away due to a lack of space.
We are grateful for the news that engineers from the Armed
Forces of Liberia and the contingent of the United States military in the
country are building new treatment centers around the country. We also
appreciate the treatment center at the ELWA hospital and others operated by
Medecin Sans Frontier, which have successfully been treating and discharging patients.
We pray that construction on new centers will be completed expeditiously so
that those infected may receive immediate relief and healing.
third lesson we can learn from brother Eric is honesty. We are compelled to be
honest with ourselves and all others around us. We must realize that it is extremely
dangerous to engage in what Winston Churchill called “terminological
inexactitude,” which means to tell a lie or untruth. Look how far Duncan’s lie
took him - all the way across the Atlantic and into contact with airline
passengers and crew, his fiancé and everyone else in the home and the neighborhood
of Dallas, Texas. Only by the grace of God has no one been found to have been
infected by him. Let us pray it remains that way. The fact is that unless we
are honest with ourselves we could infect others, as we saw in the case in
Caldwell of the former Miss Liberia 2009 Shu-rina Rosie Wiah [photo, right] when
and several others in her household died.
We continue to refer to the great examples of Chief Medical
Officer Dr. Bernice Dahn and Madam Yah Zolia, both of the Ministry of Health
and Social Welfare, who quarantined themselves the moment they discovered that
they had been in contact with infected persons - who later died. That is the
way to do it. In the process, many lives will be saved.
Posted By Worldmeets.US
What next can we learn from Eric? Many Liberians we interviewed
following his death said they weren't surprised. They recalled that two U.S.
citizens who traveled back to the United States with the same infection from
the same Liberia - were cured.
We must not cast aspersions (misleading charges) on the
Presbyterian Health Center where Eric was treated and died. We believe the
staff there did their best for him. The problem was that when he first appeared
there with a temperature of 100 degrees, instead of immediately detecting an
abnormality, they gave him tablets and let him go. There is a good chance that
knowing his nationality, had they tested him for Ebola, he might have had a
chance of survival. But by the time he paid his second visit, it was apparently
Our final point is to address Liberians who ask why Eric died
in an American hospital when two Americans were cured at other American medical
institutions. This seems to be a lesson we Liberians have difficulty learning:
the Americans, like most other nationalities, know how to look after one
another. Do we in Liberia? NO! We prefer looking after other people rather than
ourselves. See how two Lebanese rapists who viciously assaulted Liberian women
were freed by Liberian courts.