Third American With Ebola Arrives in Nebraska
“A lot of people said, ‘If I go back to work (in West Africa), my husband won’t let me come home because he thinks I’ll bring home Ebola.’ So there had to be a lot of cajoling and convincing to get local staff back,” Doug Sacra added.
Debbie Sacra echoed those sentiments. She said her husband knew the dangers inherent in the work, but that he could not abandon the people he’d worked with for most of his life in their greatest time of need.
“He was so concerned with the children who were going to die from malaria without hospitalization and the women who had no place to go to deliver their baby by cesarean section. He’s not someone who can stand back when there’s a need to take care of,” she said.
Sacra told his wife he thought he might have been infected by a patient with HIV who had also contracted Ebola, according to Doug Sacra.
One of the ways ELWA hospital tests patients for Ebola is by checking their temperature before they’re admitted. If they’re not running a fever, they’re treated as being free of the disease, he explained.
A fever is one of the first symptoms of Ebola infection. It’s the body’s way of beginning to mount a defense against the virus.
A patient with HIV, who has a weakened immune system, may not have been able to run a fever in response to the infection, and thus would have mistakenly been thought to be Ebola-free.
Sacra believes he may have performed a C-section on such a patient, his brother said.
Debbie Sacra said her husband would want to pass on a message to everyone reading and hearing about the spreading infection.
“The need of West Africa is desperate,” she said, reading a prepared statement. “There are resources that can be deployed to make sure all health care workers have enough gloves and gowns and boots and thermometers to protect themselves from possible Ebola exposures and to continue caring for those who need other medical care.