Believe it or not Fatu Kekula a Liberian nursing student has treated Ebola patients using a rain coat and plastic garbage bags as her shield against the dreaded Ebola virus. The amazing story was reported by Robyn Dixon on LA Times
Kekula’s father (Moses), a 52-year-old administrator at a clinic was diagnosed with typhoid and given a bed that had just been vacated by an Ebola patient in the clinic where he worked.
Kekula’s mother did her best to care for him, but when his condition became dramatically worse, with vomiting and diarrhea, she called Kekula home on Aug. 3.
Moses had contracted the dreaded Ebola disease. Every day, Kekula would call for an ambulance and beg everyone for help. However, no help arrived for more than two weeks.
Liberia is facing severe shortage of treatment centres and people are being turned away from hospitals. With nowhere to go people are forced to go home, infecting family members and creating more panic.
Risky and Yet Courageous decision
With no Ebola treatment center willing to take her father, Kekula decided to take care of him irrespective of the consequences.
The young nursing student set up a makeshift isolation centre in an unfinished room outside the house. She bought raincoats, rain boots, chlorine, some medical supplies and went on a mission to rescue her father from Ebola.
Whenever she entered her father’s treatment room, Fatu would put on plastic bags on her feet, wear rain boots, and put on her rain coat. Her hands were protected by 4 sets of gloves, mouth covered by a mask and she wore a plastic bag over her hair.
When she took off the clothing, she would be careful to avoid touching the exterior. She used chlorinated water to disinfect and carefully burned all the waste.
The Ebola Treatment
Fatu Kekula had her father connected to an intravenous drip and would pour liquids down his throat, drop by drop.
She gave him antibiotics, hoping to control the infection, analgesics for fever, body pain and headache. She even gave him antiretroviral medicine, normally used to treat AIDS patients.
A week later, Kekula’s father started showing signs of improvement. However, the ordeal was not over yet for Kekula. Her mother (Victoria), sister (Vivienne) and her 14 year old cousin (Alfred), all became afflicted with Ebola.
Doctors were horrified at what they saw and asked her to be sensible. “Doctors called and told me to leave them right alone and not go anywhere near them,” said the 22-year-old nursing student.
She quickly exhausted $600 in her bank account, buying surgical gloves, raincoats and medical supplies for her family.
Finally after 18 days an amabulance arrived and departed with her family members. Kekula prayed despertely that their Ebola tests would somehow be negative.
Since helping her family, Fatu Kekula is doing her best to spread hope and teaching people to use to plastic bags to protect themselves when there’s nothing else. She has addressed several workshops organized by the Health Ministry.
I’m going to teach them the things I’ve already done, because I treated four people, and only one died. – Fatu Kekula