ATLANTA (NBC) – For the first time ever, a patient known to be infected with the deadly Ebola virus is being treated in the United States.
Dr. Kent Brantly was infected while treating patients during a mission trip to Africa. One of his assistants is also battling the virus. On Saturday, Brantly was flown to Emory Hospital for treatment. With some help, Dr. Kent Brantly, the first Ebola patient ever treated in western hemisphere, walked out of an ambulance and into the hospital.
“We have a unit that’s staffed with experts, both physician experts and nursing experts, that are really key players in the understanding infection control practices necessary to maintain the safety not just of the unit and all the other patients, but the general public as well,” said Dr. Jay Varkey, special of infectious diseases.
A plane specially converted for his transfer from Africa landed at Dobbins Air Reserve Base just before noon. Then, police and FBI agents escorted an ambulance with Dr. Brantly inside. His treatment started immediately at the Atlanta hospital and for the first time in weeks, Dr. Brantly’s wife Amber was able to see and hear her husband from the other side of a glass barricade in the isolation unit.
Dr. Brantly was working as a medical missionary in Liberia when he was infected with the deadly virus. Last July, just before he left on the mission trip, he spoke at his childhood church in Indianapolis.
“I knew nothing about Liberia. And I had never met anyone who had ever been there. So how is it that less than a year later, I’d be taking my family to this far off place? It’s because god has a call on my life,” said Dr. Brantly.
A life that now hangs in the balance as the doctors at Emory Hospital work to save their colleague.
The specialized plane that transported Dr. Brantly is on the way back to Africa right now and is expected to return in the next few days with his colleague Nancy Writebol on board.