Ft. Worth doctor, other Ebola patient to be flown to Atlanta - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

Ft. Worth doctor, other Ebola patient to be flown to Atlanta

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Two American aid workers, including a Fort Worth doctor, who are infected with the Ebola virus will be flown over from Africa to be treated at a specialized unit of an Atlanta hospital.

Hospital officials did not identify the patients, citing confidentiality rules, but they were previously identified as Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol.

Dr. Bruce Ribner said Friday that the patients will receive care at Emory University Hospital. Ribner said he had no personal safety concerns over treating the patients of the dangerous disease.

It's not clear yet who will arrive in the U.S. first, but one of the patients is expected to arrive this weekend, and the other, a few days later.

A special medical isolation unit is waiting for the two in Atlanta. Doctors at Emory say the two are critical, but stable enough to be moved.

“A patient with an Ebola infection has never been cared for in an institution in the United States,” said Ribner.

Ebola has no known vaccine or cure, but Emory is reportedly capable of containing the virus.

The goal is to keep the patients alive so they can fight off the virus, and doctors are prepared to do that by whatever means would be available in any ICU unit.

The Pentagon's press secretary, Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby, said Friday that private-chartered aircraft will be arriving at Dobbins Air Reserve Base in metro Atlanta with patients evacuated from Africa. Kirby did not have further details.

A small, private jet based in Atlanta has been dispatched to Liberia, where the two Americans work for missionary groups. Officials said the jet is outfitted with a special, portable tent designed for transporting patients with highly infectious diseases.

The U.S. State Department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is helping to arrange the evacuation.

"The safety and security of U.S. citizens is our paramount concern," said the State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf, in a statement released Friday morning. "Every precaution is being taken to move the patients safely and securely."

The Emory isolation unit is one of about four around the country for testing and treating people who may have been exposed to very dangerous viruses, said Dr. Eileen Farnon, a Temple University doctor who formerly worked at the CDC and led teams investigating past Ebola outbreaks in Africa.

The current outbreak in the West African countries of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone has killed more than 700 people.

Brantly is receiving continuous prayers from his former colleagues at John Peter Smith Hospital and from his old church in Fort Worth, the Southside Church of Christ.

Brantly was one of many who braved contagious illnesses in Africa for the sake of mission work.

Dr. Todd Phillips spoke with FOX 4 from Liberia. His charity, the Last Well, faces the same challenges as Brantly.

He says government offices and schools are shut down, public gatherings are not allowed and store fronts are closed.

At this point, people stay 10 feet away from each other here at the hotel we're currently at,” said Phillips. “It's a very uneasy feeling."

Phillips says with so much death there attributed to Ebola, the decision to fly Brantly and Writebol back to America was absolutely the right call.

"And in America, with the quarantine environment they have, that's the best shot they have at living,” said Phillips.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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