How Nigerian Medical Doctor Survived Ebola After Contact With Infected Liberian Diplomat Patrick Sawyer

For Dr. Ada Igonoh, one of the doctors who had contact with the late Patrick Sawyer, the Liberian-American importer of Ebola Virus Disease to Nigeria, at the First Consultants Hospital, Obalende, Lagos, she was only separated from death by her faith, knowledge and resolve to live beyond the most deadly strain of the virus.
She was infected with the Zaire strain after she helped Sawyer to hang his intravenous (I.V.) fluid bag on a metal stand from his bed when Sawyer wanted to go to the bathroom to stool.
She did it with her bare hands not knowing that Sawyer, who had shielded information from the hospital, actually had disease.

The doctor, who explained in a lengthy article published by online news portal, Bellanaija, how the hospital staff, including the late Dr. Ameyo Stella Adadevoh, handled Sawyer’s case before and after the result of a test showed he had Ebola, said Sawyer died in the bathroom in his ward and that she was the one who certified him dead.

But after Sawyer’s death, the reality of contacting the disease dawned on all of them, especially when some government officials met with them and gave them thermometres to always measure their temperature.

She explained that a week before Sawyer’s death, she had gone to her parents’ house on a visit and was still there when she started having symptoms beginning with sore throats and joint pains.
When initial anti-malaria drugs could not help her fever and she started vomiting and stooling, she called the emergency number they were given and some officials came to take her sample for a test. She said at this stage, she started isolating herself from her parents and siblings.

“The following day, Sunday 3rd of August, I got a call from one of the doctors who came to take my sample the day before. He told me that the sample which they had taken was not confirmatory, and that they needed another sample.

“They came with the ambulance that afternoon and told me that I had to go with them to Yaba. I was confused. Couldn’t the second sample be taken in the ambulance like the previous one?
“He said a better-qualified person at the Yaba centre would take the sample. I asked if they would bring me back. He said ‘yes’. Even with the symptoms I did not believe I had Ebola. After all, my contact with Sawyer was minimal. I only touched his I.V. fluid bag just that once without gloves.

It was when she got to the Infectious Disease Hospital, Yaba that she met Dr. David, a caucasian, who confirmed that her test was positive.
“I had no reaction. I think I must have been in shock. He then told me to open my mouth and he looked at my tongue. He said it was the typical Ebola tongue.

“I took out my mirror from my bag and took a look and I was shocked at what I saw. My whole tongue had a white coating, looked furry and had a long, deep ridge right in the middle.
“I then started to look at my whole body, searching for Ebola rashes and other signs as we had been recently instructed. I called my mother immediately and said, ‘Mummy, they said I have Ebola, but don’t worry, I will survive it. Please, go and lock my room now; don’t let anyone inside and don’t touch anything.’ She was silent. I cut the line,” she further wrote.

Dr. Ada said she met one of the ward maids at the First Consultants Hospital at the centre. The woman who always had smiles for her could not smile this time as she had been stooling all day.
Later Dr. David, she said, brought bottles of water and ORS, the oral fluid therapy which he dropped by her bedside.

“He told me that 90 percent of the treatment depended on me. He said I had to drink at least 4.5 litres of ORS daily to replace fluids lost in stooling and vomiting,” she said, adding that the man warned her against taking a drug to stop the stooling as the virus would replicate the more inside of her.
“That evening, the symptoms fully kicked in. I was stooling almost every two hours. The toilets did not flush so I had to fetch water in a bucket from the bathroom each time I used the toilet. I then placed another bucket beneath my bed for the vomiting.

“On occasion I would run to the toilet with a bottle of ORS, so that as I was stooling, I was drinking.
“The next day Monday 4th of August, I began to notice red rashes on my skin particularly on my arms. I had developed sores all over my mouth. My head was pounding so badly. The sore throat was so severe I could not eat. I could only drink the ORS.

“I took paracetamol for the pain. The ward maid across from me wasn’t doing so well. She had stopped speaking. I couldn’t even brush my teeth; the sores in my mouth were so bad. This was a battle for my life but I was determined I would not die,” she said further.

She embarked by daily meditating on Psalm 91 while her pastor, a medical doctor, would call at intervals, pray and discuss researched materials about the disease with her. He also brought her reading materials and CDs which she played with the gadgets she took with her.
She also said the Chief Consultant of her hospital was also sending every necessary materials to make them comfortable.

She said despite being in the throes of death, she was not scared and even started encouraging others.
While there, the late Justina Ejelonu, the pregnant nurse who contacted the virus on her first day at work, was brought in. She died days later.

Miraculously, five days after she was admitted, the diarrhoea ceased. “I was overwhelmed with joy. It happened at a time I thought I could no longer stand the ORS. Drinking that fluid had stretched my endurance greatly,” she said, adding that she soon started eating well.

She suddenly got ill again, but this time, her sample was tested and it came out negative just 14 days after she was admitted. She said she was overjoyed at the news.

Dr. Ada, who commended the Lagos State Government, the World Health Organisation and the Federal Government and all those who prayed for her, was discharged after she had a chlorine bath and was advised to leave everything she came to the centre with.

Source: New2Online

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