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Thursday, 21 August 2014

Ebola: God saved my life- US doctor speaks after leaving hospital

Ebola patient Dr Kent Brantly beamed with delight today as he thanked God for sparing his life and prepared to leave hospital after being declared free of the deadly disease.

The American missionary doctor looked a little frail but healthy as he gripped the hand of his wife Amber amid a large medical team at a Emory University Hospital press conference in Atlanta, Georgia.

The 33-year-old said: 'Today is a miraculous day. I am thrilled to be alive, to be well and to be reunited with my family.'

He thanked God for saving his life, saying that the thousands of prayers which had been said for him around the world, had been answered. He also gave credit to the experimental serum he received after his health rapidly deteriorated when he contracted Ebola last month.

'Through the care of the Samaritan's Purse and SIM missionary team in Liberia, the use of an experimental drug, and the expertise and resources of the health care team at Emory University Hospital, God saved my life - a direct answer to thousands and thousands of prayers,' the doctor said.

The doctor, originally from Texas, moved with his family to Liberia in West Africa because God called on him to work there, he said.

'When my family and I moved to Liberia two years ago, Ebola was not on the radar. We moved to Liberia because God called us to service in Liberia,' he said.

As the Ebola outbreak began to spread across West Africa this year, Dr Brantly said his medical staff in Liberia took every precaution against the disease, which has a 90 per cent mortality rate.

Dr Brantly said today: 'When we received our first Ebola patient, we were ready... we took every precaution to protect ourselves from this disease, including following MSF (Doctors Without Borders) and WHO (World Health Organization) guidelines.'

With the health risks in Liberia becoming more serious, the doctor sent his wife and two young children home to the U.S. in July. The following day, the doctor said, he woke up knowing that something was wrong.

Dr Brantly said: 'On Wednesday July 23, I woke up feeling under the weather and then my life took an unexpected turn as I was diagnosed with the Ebola virus disease.

'As I lay in bed getting sicker and weaker, each day I prayed that God would help me be faithful in my illness.

'I cannot thank you enough for your prayers and your support, but what I can tell you is that I serve a God who answers prayers. God saved my life, a direct answer to thousands and thousands of prayers.'

The doctor thanked a long list of people that he credited for his recovery. He became emotional as he expressed deep gratitude to the Emory medical team who had cared for him in the quarantine unit, saying: 'I will not forget you.'

He also thanked the missionary medical organization, Samaritan's Purse, for whom he worked in Liberia. He said: 'I want to thank Samaritan's Purse, who has taken care of me and my family as if I was their own family.'

His colleague Nancy Writebol, 59, was released on Tuesday from Emory. She did not want to make a public statement but asked that Dr Brantly convey her gratitude to medical staff and those who had prayed for her.

Dr Brantly said: 'As [Nancy] walked out of her isolation room, all she could say was 'To God to be glory.''

Dr Bruce Ribner, director of Emory's Infectious Disease Unit, said today: 'We are tremendously pleased with Dr. Brantly and Mrs. Writebol's recovery' adding that they posed no public health risk.

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