Ebola outbreak: Nurse William Pooley, the first Briton to contract Ebola in outbreak, is described as a hero by his colleagues
Mr Pooley was flown to the UK in a specially-adapted RAF jet on Sunday
The British nurse struck down by the deadly Ebola virus is an “extraordinary guy” who should be treated as a hero for the work he has done in Africa, his colleagues said on Sunday.
William Pooley, 29, from Eyke in Suffolk, is currently receiving emergency treatment at the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead, north London. He was evacuated from Sierra Leone, where he had been volunteering at Kenema Government Hospital treating victims of the incurable virus, by a specially-adapted RAF jet on Sunday.
Gabriel Madiye, who runs the Shepherd’s Hospice in Freetown where Mr Pooley had worked previously, said the Briton had been “quite aware of the risks involved” in treating Ebola patients but had been determined to help.
Dr Oliver Johnson, a friend of Mr Pooley’s who has been treating patients in Freetown, described him as an “extraordinary guy” who was “hugely dedicated” to the task of helping his patients.
“I knew Will before he first came out to Sierra Leone, we discussed his plans for coming out. When the Ebola outbreak really hit, he moved up to Kenema, right to the epicentre of the outbreak to try and help,” he told the BBC.
“Will’s a pretty extraordinary guy. Even for those of us working with Ebola patients in Sierra Leone, he stood out as being particularly brave and really from the beginning he was determined to help in any way he could, not just help patients but I think he had enormous loyalty towards the other staff at Kenema.”
Read more: Irrational fears potentially more damaging than Ebola
Ebola hauled three nations out of recovery
Number of Ebola deaths 'massively underestimated'
The Ebola virus was identified in Guinea in March and has spread to Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria. It has killed almost 1,500 people, according to official estimates, and carries a 90 per cent fatality rate.
Mr Pooley, the first Briton confirmed to have contracted the virus, moved to Africa to help treat locals suffering from Aids but had in recent months turned his attention to Ebola patients. In a recent interview with a blogger from the website FreetownFashpack, he said: “It’s the easiest situation in the world to make a difference. I’m not particularly experienced or skilled, but I can do the job and I am actually helping.”
On Sunday, his family issued a statement in which they thanked the RAF and British authorities for bringing him safely back home – and the “excellent care” provided by the doctors fighting to save his life. “We would like to express our thanks to all involved in bringing our son back to the UK,” they said. “We have been astounded by the speed and way which the various international and UK government agencies have worked together to get Will home.
“Will is receiving excellent care at the Royal Free Hospital and we could not ask for him to be in a better place. We would like to thank all our family and friends for their best wishes and ask everyone to remember those in other parts of the world suffering with Ebola who do not have access to the same healthcare facilities as Will.”
Chris Mutten, a councillor on Eyke Parish Council where Mr Pooley’s mother Jackie works as a clerk, said the local community was desperately hoping he will manage to fight off the disease. “He is a good lad, he has been doing a lot of good work,” he said. “His family are very proud of him, he has been all over the world and his work is all voluntary. He trained as a nurse and he is doing his bit for society…he is a very brave man.”
Mr Pooley, who is being treated in the UK’s only infectious disease isolation unit, does not pose a risk to other patients or the general public, doctors said. David Mabey, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said he was “in a plastic tent with its own air supply”. Everything that comes out of the tent is incinerated and it has its own separate entrance, he added.
- 1 Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
- 2 Google April Fools': company unveils backwards search engine and huggable digital assistant
- 3 I might be an MP, but that doesn't stop me fighting sexism with my breasts
- 4 April Fools' Day 2015: The best hoax news stories from around the internet
- 5 Gamers confess the worst things they've done in The Sims
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
Revealed: Putin's army of pro-Kremlin bloggers
Katie Hopkins reported to the police for race hatred by Labour MP Simon Danczuk after tweet about Pakistani men
£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working closely with the market...
£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A reputable company, famed for ...
Negotiable: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group has been engaged by a highly resp...