That same evening Matt Lauer’s interview with Dr. Kent Brantly was aired on NBC. Dr. Brantly and his colleague, Nancy Writebol, were the first US medical personnel diagnosed with the disease. Their diagnosis and return to the United States for treatment ignited global fears of a worldwide epidemic. Writebol and Brantly were treated in Atlanta.
In Liberia where Brantly, Writebol and Sacra served as medical missionaries, the ebola virus has killed more than 1,000 people since its arrival six months ago. There is no known cure for the disease. Up to 90% of ebola victims die suffering from acute diarrhea, vomiting, uncontrolled shaking and, in many cases both internal and external bleeding.
Both Writebol and Brantly recovered and were declared free of the ebola virus last week. Their story raises several questions. The first question many ask is: What saved them? Did we find a cure?
The medical community is guarded in their response. Perhaps they found some clues that will help discover a cure. But others have received similar treatment given to Brantly and Writebol and died, including two doctors, one from Spain and another from Liberia.
When asked about his treatment and recovery, Dr. Brantly was clearly convinced that the real secret to his recovery was prayer. Brantly said, “The people in the room taking care of me, they began praying over me. What I didn’t know at the time is that there were also people outside my house praying for me.” He thoughtfully added, “There were thousands of people, including my teammates there in Liberia who were begging the Lord to save my life.”
A second question is: Why were these saved and not others?
Nancy Writebol responded, “We don’t understand the way the Lord works. Why did God allow us to receive treatment? Why were we saved and not others? I don’t know that we can ever answer that question.”
But there is a third question. Why did these individuals leave their successful medical practice and the safety of their homes to put their lives at risk treating impoverished patients in Liberia?
Dr. Kent Brantly released this statement in response to that question: “My wife Amber and I, along with our two children, did not move to Liberia for the specific purpose of fighting Ebola. We went to Liberia because we believe God called us to serve Him at ELWA Hospital.“One thing I have learned is that following God often leads us to unexpected places. When Ebola spread into Liberia, my usual hospital work turned more and more toward treating the increasing number of Ebola patients. … I witnessed the horror firsthand, and I can still remember every face and name.
“When I started feeling ill on that Wednesday morning, I immediately isolated myself until the test confirmed my diagnosis three days later. When the result was positive, I remember a deep sense of peace that was beyond all understanding. God was reminding me of what He had taught me years ago, that He will give me everything I need to be faithful to Him.”The ebola crisis is expected to escalate in the next few weeks. Hopefully Dr. Brantly’s illness, along with Mrs. Writebol and Dr. Sacra will signal a global call for prayer, courage and sacrifice to stamp out the disease and rescue the victims in west Africa.