Via USA Today: U.S. officers mourn losing their 1st Ebola patient. Excerpt:
A cluster of American uniformed officers gathered in the sticky heat earlier this week to say a prayer for a dead Liberian nurse, the first loss to Ebola at the only U.S. government-operated clinic in West Africa.
The 34-year-old nurse's death Wednesday hit the American staff hard at the clinic charged with caring for healthcare workers sickened by Ebola.
"She was one of us. She was a healthcare provider just like all of us," said Dr. Russ Bowman, 53, of Albuquerque, N.M., a lead physician here. "This is what this unit is for — to provide care to folks ... providing care for the people of Liberia. We're here to back them up. And we weren't able to save her. And that's a tragedy."
The nurse — whose name was not made available — was unconscious and already failing when she arrived by ambulance the night before.
"It's a shame she wasn't here a lot earlier," said Jennifer Malia, 41, of Laytonsville, Md., a lab medical technician. "I believe we really could have helped and maybe had a different outcome."
Her arrival at such a late stage of the disease raises concerns the new clinic, which opened Nov. 7, is not being adequately publicized by Liberian health officials. Four Liberian healthcare workers with Ebola are currently being treated there. All are improving.
"I'd like to be able to answer that definitively, yes (word has spread)," says Paul Reed, the chief medical officer. "But I don't know that."
When President Obama announced in September he was sending U.S. troops to Liberia it was with the caveat that none would directly treat patients infected with Ebola, which has killed 3,000 in this country.
But with healthcare workers among the most threatened by the disease, the responsibility for a clinic devoted to treating doctors and nurses who become ill fell upon the U.S. Public Health Service, a little-known branch of the Department of Health and Human Services.
"It's a very noble mission, an honorable mission," says Reed, who left behind a wife and four children to deploy.
The Public Health Service is one of nation's seven uniformed services with members who carry military ranks and wear uniforms similar to those of the U.S. Coast Guard. They often are sent to domestic and international health disasters.
This the first time Public Health Service members have operated an Ebola clinic. All 69 workers here are volunteers.