Worcester doctor’s ebola infection hits close to home

Dr. Rick Sacra worked in Worcester

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The 3rd American missionary infected with ebola lived and worked just down the Mass Pike in Worcester. Massachusetts-based family physician Dr. Rick Sacra knew the risks when he returned to Liberia about a month ago.

Dr. Warren Ferguson at UMass Medical School said, “He’s been shouldering a lot of the work of taking care of women who are pregnant and taking care of them during labor and delivery.”

Dr. Sacra did not knowingly work with an ebola patient, but it was confirmed Wednesday, he’s been infected with the virus.

Dr. Sacra graduated from UMass Medical School in 1989, and he’s been on the medical staff of UMass Medical Memorial Center in Worcester since 2010. His colleagues called him a “warm and caring doctor.”

Many people hope Dr. Sacra, and everyone else suffering from the disease, will receive the treatment they need.

Eileen Mariani of Montague said, “Any time a human being, no matter where they live, is stricken by that horrible disease, they should be given all the support and help that they can.”

Sheila Lally of South Hadley said, “There’s opportunities to do that, just make the most of it. We’ve got the great ingenuity and resources to do it. We should pay it forward.”

Dr. Sacra was working for a christian charity called SIM USA. He’s been with that charity since the 1980’s. SIM has not said anything yet about Dr. Sacra returning to the U.S. for treatment. Two previous ebola patients, Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol, were treated at Emory University in Atlanta, and they have since recovered.

Below is a statement from UMass Medical School regarding Dr. Sacra’s diagnosis:

“Our thoughts are with Richard Sacra, MD, today, as he has reportedly contracted the Ebola virus while working as a physician in Liberia. Dr. Sacra is a 1989 graduate of UMass Medical School and on the medical staff of the Department of Family Medicine & Community Health at UMass Memorial Medical Center since 2010.

Dr. Sacra has spent much of his career working overseas, including nearly two decades in Liberia. He has a faculty appointment at UMMS as an assistant professor of family medicine & community health, as a function of teaching in the medical school’s residency program at the Family Health Center of Worcester when he returns to the U.S. for periodic respite visits.”

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