Heroics, not Better Protective Gear Needed in the Ebola Fight
Historically there was another dreaded disease with a panicky response similar to today’s Ebola panic. Yellow Fever was quickly and decisively dealt with due to the heroic sacrifice of one man and the people he inspired. US Army Corps of Engineer Doctor Jesse William Lazear. Dr. Lazear set a standard for the US and the world that we have not yet been able to live up to. History books had for decades given the credit to his boss the famous Dr. Walter Reed, who did not actually end up staying in a room filled with infected mosquitoes like many of the other Army Corps of Engineer personnel.
Dr. Jesse William Lazear‘sheroics also solved the Malaria dilemma, which is similar to Yellow Fever. Dr. Lazear died proving that the mosquito was responsible for spreading this dreaded disease. Dr. Lazerar was not the only Army Corps of Engineer guinea pig to die.
In the US Yellow Fever victims tying to flee were shot at if they refused to return to the ship or train they were trying to escape in. In Liberia’s capitol city a slum was fenced in until finally just recently allowed to in small groups stay in a holding area for two weeks then, if healthy, leave. Steamships and railroad cars contained areas of stagnant water where mosquitoes could breed, but they thought the passengers were spreading it.
Today, it’s a far cry from Dr. Lazear’s heroic sacrifice. Only American and British doctors and nurses surviving with the help of the experimental lifesaving drug ZMapp which the African victims didn’t get until finally August 31 Liberian physician assistant Kyndy Kobba survived with the help of ZMapp.
We tend to see numbers not individuals suffering the following link makes this horror story very human and personal,
Articles talk of partial immunity even of the blood of patients who recently survived being given to still healthy people who have been exposed to Ebola, but not yet sick which have had some promising results.
I have a totally different idea, some people cured of Ebola can going back to work directly with patients without all the hot protective clothing. If they get sick again they are likely to get less sick the second time they get infected. Too bad Mother Teresa isn’t alive and a survivor of Ebola she would have tried my idea. Another person who would have jumped to this opportunity would have been official Sierra Leone hero-doctor Sheik Umar Khan who saved hundreds of lives from Lassa Fever before switching to fighting Ebola. He used to distinguish himself Mother Teresa style as soon as a patient was cured celebrating by giving them a big hug. Wikipedia speculates in one case the cure time was a little later then to be expected. Dr. Khan’s western educated brother complained bitterly that his brother wasn’t given the lifesaving medicine. If he had lived Dr. Khan would likely be back fighting Eboba but directly not behind the walls of protective gear,
There is good news that a US and a British nurse Nancy Writebol and William Pooley who were flown back to their home country and survived with the help of ZMapp, are planning to return to Africa to continue to fight Ebola,
I hope I manage to contact them and convey the idea of doing this without all the protective gear. Then in the future the concept would be that those who are going back to work receive the special intense treatment were chosen because they would be most productive in fighting the disease, instead of just because they were Americans or Brits even if there are few “Walter Reed” types who end up not doing what they had volunteered to do. Changing the current US – British attitude would improve the moral climate and morale greatly.
At another site I compared Ebola with the horror points in medical history such as Hitler’s and infamous Nazi doctor Josef Mengele’s gruesome medical experiments,
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Some people see such horrors as a slum in the capital city of Nigeria being surrounded with bobbed wire to keep Ebola in as something to do with desperate necessity and Hitler just cruelty for it’s own sake. However Hitler believing that crystallized meth was a super-drug created by super-science to make superman more super explains some of the otherwise senseless actions of the Holocaust.
Desperate situations can bring out the best or the worst. Let’s head toward the best.
9/17/14 update and where comments weren’t forced to close,