For the first time since contracting the Ebola virus in Liberia, an American missionary treated here in Atlanta spoke about her recovery.
Nancy Writebol looked healthy and strong as she addressed reporters at a press conference held Wednesday near Charlotte at the headquarters of missionary group SIM-USA.
“There were many mornings I woke up and thought, ‘I’m alive.’ And there are many mornings I thought, ‘I don’t think I’m going to make it anymore’” she said.
Writebol arrived last month on a special medical evacuation flight in Atlanta from Liberia. She had to be taken by stretcher into Emory University Hospital. She says she doesn’t remember much about her transport.
“I do remember as I was put on that airplane, ‘I don’t even know if I’m going to make it to the U.S. I don’t even know if I’m going to see my dear husband again.”
Just weeks later, Writebol left Emory on her own strength with zero fanfare. The 59-year-old had asked the hospital to protect her privacy.
Writebol praised Emory’s medical team for the treatment she and fellow missionary Dr. Kent Brantly received.
“I don’t know that I have ever known five doctors that have cared so much, and for the 21 nurses that served Dr. Brantly and myself, thank you,” she said. “They were amazing people.”
Writebol asked for continued prayers for those affected by Ebola in West Africa. That includes a third U.S. patient, who SIM president Bruce Johnson identified as Dr. Rick Sacra.
“Rick and his family are currently living in the Boston area in the U.S.,” he told reporters. “Rick travels back and forth to Liberia, and he volunteered just a month ago when Dr. Brantly and Nancy tested positive [for] Ebola. Rick called and said, ‘I’m ready to go.’”
Spokespersons for the CDC and Emory University say there are no current plans to bring a third patient to Atlanta for treatment.
Meanwhile, health officials fear the Ebola outbreak is starting to rage out of control.
Thanks to WFAE in Charlotte for contributing to this report.