Ebola nurse released from hospital

Published: Saturday 24th January 2015 by The News Editor

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A nurse who contracted Ebola while working in Sierra Leone has made a complete recovery and been discharged from hospital.

Pauline Cafferkey is now free of the virus after more than three weeks in hospital, where she was critically ill for a time.

She said she is “happy to be alive” and thanked staff at the Royal Free Hospital in London who she said saved her life.

Ms Cafferkey was diagnosed with Ebola after returning to Glasgow and was initially admitted to the city’s Gartnavel Hospital on December 29, then transferred to the Royal Free the following day.

The nurse, from Cambuslang in South Lanarkshire, had volunteered with Save The Children at the Ebola Treatment Centre in Kerry Town before returning to the UK.

Ms Cafferkey was discharged from hospital today and said she is looking forward to going home.

She said: “I am just happy to be alive. I still don’t feel 100%, I feel quite weak, but I’m looking forward to going home.

“I want to say a big thank you to the staff who treated me – they were amazing. They were always very reassuring and I knew I was in the best hands. They saved my life.”

Ms Cafferkey was treated in the hospital’s high level isolation unit (HLIU) for more than three weeks.

She thanked the Royal Free Charity, which donated an iPad for her to use while she was in the unit.

She said: “As I was beginning to recover, I listened to lots of music when I was in the HLIU and that was a massive help.

“I also had lots of Irn-Bru to help me through!”

While at the hospital she was under the care of the infectious diseases team, led by Dr Michael Jacobs.

He said: “We are delighted that Pauline has recovered and is now well enough to go home. I am very proud of the staff who have been caring for her. It is because of the skill and hard work of the entire team that she is now able to go home.”

Save The Children has launched an investigation into how Ms Cafferkey was infected but admits it may never establish the exact circumstances.

She flew back to the UK via Casablanca in Morocco. Her temperature was tested seven times before she flew from Heathrow to Glasgow and she was cleared to travel.

She later became feverish and followed advice given to her at Heathrow to contact local services. She was admitted to an isolation facility at the Brownlee unit in Gartnavel Hospital at 8am on December 29.

After a blood sample tested positive for Ebola, she was transferred in a military plane to the Royal Free Hospital by 8am on December 30.

The Royal Free Hospital has the UK’s only HLIU, which is run by a dedicated team of medical staff.

The unit is designed to ensure staff can safely treat a patient with a dangerous infectious disease.

Access to the unit is restricted and there are a number of measures in place to ensure the virus is contained.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “I am delighted that Pauline Cafferkey has been discharged from hospital and can now return home. Her selflessness and courage are remarkable and she represents the very best of NHS values.

“I would like to thank all the staff at the Royal Free who have worked tirelessly to provide her with world class care and treatment.”

Professor Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer for England, also welcomed the news.

She said: “It is wonderful to hear that Pauline Cafferkey has recovered. This is testament to the hard work and dedication of the team at the Royal Free who have worked around the clock to help bring about this happy outcome.”

International Development Secretary Justine Greening said: “I am absolutely delighted that Pauline Cafferkey has been successfully treated for Ebola and today was discharged from the Royal Free Hospital.

“All of our thoughts have been with her and her family during her recovery and this is fantastic news.

“Pauline and all of the NHS volunteers helping to contain, control and defeat Ebola are making a huge difference in the fight against this horrible disease. Their hard work is saving lives and they have the thanks of the UK and Sierra Leone alike.

“My thanks also to the staff at the Royal Free for all their help in getting Pauline well.”

Published: Saturday 24th January 2015 by The News Editor

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