A nurse who contracted the deadly Ebola virus while volunteering in West Africa has been discharged from hospital after making a full recovery.
Doctors feared for Will Pooley’s life when he was airlifted out of Sierra Leone by the RAF ten days ago. However, after treatment with the controversial drug ZMapp at the Royal Free London Foundation Trust Mr Pooley was discharged this morning.
The drug has been described as a cure by some experts but has not been subject to clinical trials that regulators require before approving a drug for routine use. It is not known if it contributed to his recovery,
Speaking at a press conference at the Royal Free this morning Mr Pooley said he had been lucky that his symptoms had not been so advanced as some of the patients he treated in Sierra Leone.
“I want to say a huge thank you to the Royal Free Hospital – I’ve been given world class care. I also want to say thank you to the RAF and the British government who did such a good job with my evacuation,” he said.
“When I saw the plane there waiting for me with a big team of Brits I was so relieved. I wish that the level of care provided here could be provided to the people in West Africa.
“I was very lucky in several ways. The standard of care I received was a world apart from what people are getting in West Africa, despite the best efforts of the healthcare workers out there.”
He also paid tribute to the many nurses and other healthcare professionals still working to contain the outbreak which is centred on Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.
“It’s a privilege to get to look after people when they’re suffering. It’s what being a nurse is all about,” Mr Pooley said.
Ebola is transmitted through sweat, blood and saliva. More than 1,300 people have been killed by the latest outbreak in West Africa, where the fatality rate stands at 47% according to the World Health Organisation.
Mr Pooley, 29, was treated in the trust’s high level isolation unit – the only one of its kind in the UK.
Infectious diseases consultant Dr Michael Jacobs, who led Mr Pooley’s treatment, said there was no risk to the wider community as a result of Mr Pooley’s stay at the hospital.
He added: “I’m extremely proud of the whole team that has been involved in caring for William Pooley.”