Omaha, Neb – The doctors caring for Dr. Richard Sacra, the patient who contracted the Ebola virus while treating patients in West Africa, are optimistic about his departure from the hospital. “Based on what we’re seeing know, we expect him to make a full recovery,” said Angela Hewlett, MD, associate medical director of the Biocontainment Unit at The Nebraska Medical Center. “However, we are still somewhat cautious because of the severity and unknown factors of this disease. We know from experience how other patients look as their condition improves, but since we have so little experience treating patients with Ebola, that tempers our optimism a little bit.”
“He looks great in person,” said Phil Smith, MD, medical director of the Biocontainment Unit at The Nebraska Medical Center. “We’re hopeful the latest round of lab data reflects what we’re seeing in his room.”
Dr. Smith said the first set of blood samples sent to the CDC showed a decreasing amount of the virus in his blood from the first day through his fifth day of treatment. Results from the second set of samples should be available soon. Doctors also said the research drug being given to Dr. Sacra was administered for seven days, but he is no longer receiving it.
“We’re still working on improving his nutrition and his fluid intake,” said Dr. Smith. “We would like to make him fully independent of his IV, but we’re not quite there yet.” Still, both doctors caring for Dr. Sacra are optimistic. “For Dr. Sacra to be discharged, there has to be two negative blood tests done 24 hours apart,” added Dr. Hewlett. “If the second set of blood samples continues to trend in the same way the first set did, we’ll be able to administer those tests fairly soon.”