The chief nurse at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta is speaking out about why the two American patients who contracted Ebola in Africa were brought back to the United States.
Susan Mitchell Grant wrote in an article for the Washington Post that Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol, who worked in Liberia with the mission Samaritan's Purse, were brought back for better treatment and other broader reasons that could the country and the world overall.
"These patients will benefit — not threaten — the country," Grant wrote in her post titled "I’m the head nurse at Emory. This is why we wanted to bring the Ebola patients to the U.S."
An ambulance arrives at Emory University Hospital, transporting the second American missionary stricken with Ebola in Liberia, Tuesday, Aug. 5 in Atlanta. Nancy Writebol is expected to be admitted to the hospital, where she will join another U.S. aid worker, Dr. Kent Brantly, in a special isolation unit. (AP/Jason Getz)
Fears that some had with these two patients being brought back to the U.S. from West Africa, where an outbreak of the viral disease is raging, were "unfounded and reflect a lack of knowledge about Ebola and our ability to safely manage and contain it," Grant said.
She went on to explain how Emory University Hospital has a specialized unit for "highly infectious patients" and staff is trained to deal with such conditions.
"But beyond that, the public alarm overlooks the foundational mission of the U.S. medical system. The purpose of any hospital is to care for the ill and advance knowledge about human health," Grant wrote.
Dr. Kent Brantly and his wife, Amber, are seen in an undated photo provided by Samaritan's Purse. Brantly became the first person infected with Ebola to be brought to the United States from Africa, arriving at at Emory University Hospital, in Atlanta on Saturday, Aug. 2. Experts say Emory University Hospital is one of the safest places in the world to treat someone with Ebola, the virus that has killed more than 900 people in Africa. (AP/Samaritan's Purse)
Going forward, Grant wrote that Americans and others could benefit in the future from the hospital taking over treatment, thus allowing it to learn more about how to treat the virus, which does not yet have a vaccine or cure.
"This pathogen is part of our world, and if we want eradicate these types of potentially fatal diseases before they reach our shores uncontrolled, we have to contribute to the global research effort," Grant said. "Today, diseases do not stay contained to one city, country or even continent."
But the most important reason these citizens were brought back to their home country, according to Grant, is because it "is the right thing to do."
Read Grant's full thoughts in the Washington Post.