To see the Live news conference: http://www.ketv.com/news/ebola-patient-released-from-nebraska-medical-center/28240986
Tests show he is virus-free
Omaha, Neb –Dr. Rick Sacra, the patient who has been treated at The Nebraska Medical Center for the Ebola virus over the last three weeks, has left his room in the Biocontainment Unit and will soon head home. The CDC confirmed that two separate blood samples taken from Dr. Sacra 24 hours apart show the virus is no longer in his bloodstream.
“I am so grateful,” said Dr. Sacra. “Just so incredibly grateful to have gotten through this illness! Many were praying for me, even people I did not know personally. During the time I was here, there was a growing confidence that God was answering those prayers, and that I was steadily improving. Thanks to God and to the team here at The Nebraska Medical Center!”
“It was very gratifying for the entire team that treated Dr. Sacra to see him walk out the doors healthy again,” said Phil Smith, M.D., medical director of the Biocontainment Unit at The Nebraska Medical Center. “When he arrived three weeks ago, he was extremely ill with a virus the world doesn’t have a lot of experience treating. To know that we were able to play a role in helping his body fight off the virus so he could be reunited with his family and continue doing the work he’s so passionate about makes the years we’ve s pent training and preparing for something like this more than worth it.”
Dr. Sacra says he also felt fortunate to be in the hands of the team caring for him at The Nebraska Medical Center. “My care team was excellent,” Dr. Sacra said. “They were compassionate, patient and provided an incredibly high level of care.” He said as he started to feel better and was waiting to be allowed to leave the unit; those caring for him did everything they could to keep him entertained. “They brought me books to read, played chess with me and we had conversations about dozens of different topics,” Dr. Sacra said. “My only worry is that I may not recognize them when I am out of the unit, since I only know them by their eyes and their voices!”
The doctors caring for Dr. Sacra say they feel privileged to contribute to the world’s fight against the Ebola virus. “We’ve been in constant contact with the CDC, the World Health Organization and a member of the White House medical staff,” said Angela Hewlett, M.D., associate medical director of the Biocontainment Unit. “We have been sharing everything we’ve learned about caring for Dr. Sacra and we will continue to do so as we have the opportunity to examine all of the data related to his treatment.” She added, “It is an honor to not only help save our patient’s life, but to potentially save the lives of others fighting this disease around the world.”
Dr. Sacra contracted the Ebola virus while treating patients in West Africa. He works for SIM, an international mission group that responds to areas of need worldwide. “I would like to offer a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to the exceptional doctors, nurses and staff at The Nebraska Medical Center for your caring hearts, keen minds and gifted abilities with Rick and Debbie,” said Bruce Johnson, president, SIM USA. “May God multiply your work, that it will result in the survival of thousands in West Africa who may become infected with Ebola.”
Dr. Sacra became the first patient in The Nebraska Medical Center’s Biocontainment Unit on Sept. 5. Dr. Sacra received a research drug called TKM-Ebola, which inhibits the virus’s ability to replicate. He was also treated with plasma from Ebola survivor Dr. Kent Brantly, along with other supportive care. Doctors say it’s not clear yet if it was a single factor or a combination of all of them that helped Dr. Sacra survive. “I just want to say thank you to everyone who got me through this,” said Dr. Sacra. “Everyone made me feel so welcome that I am now an official lifetime Huskers fan!”
Comments From Dr. Rick Sacra: Good afternoon, my name is Rick Sacra, and I am so happy to be here with all of you today on the occasion of my release from the hospital. First and foremost, I need to acknowledge the grace of God in my life since I became ill with the Ebola virus on August 29th. Literally thousands of people have prayed for me, and those prayers have been answered!
Ever since I committed my life to Jesus in my youth, he has loved me, stood beside me, and given me grace. But the outpouring of His grace during my fight with Ebola has been especially generous. I would like to thank Dr. Jerry Brown, Dr. John Fankhauser, and the entire team at ELWA Hospital who cared for me during my first few days of illness.
I would also like to thank my mission, SIM, the CDC, the US State Dept, the flight crew and ambulance team which got me here to The Nebraska Medical Center. I would like to acknowledge my medical team of Dr. Smith, Dr. Hewlett, Dr. Florescu, Dr. Sullivan and the critical care team, and the entire nursing and respiratory therapy staff of the Bio Containment Unit. God has used you to restore life to me, and I am so grateful! On behalf of my family, and SIM, thank you so much!!! You have made me feel so welcome that I am now an official lifetime Huskers Fan!!!! Go Big Red!
I appreciate Dr. Kent Brantly, my dear colleague and friend, for his willingness to come all the way here to donate his plasma to help in my recovery. Also, our colleagues the Elphicks and Deckers, who came to be with my wife during the first weeks of my hospitalization. Finally, I want to acknowledge the loyal and unfailing support of my family, including my 3 sons, my extended family, and especially my sweetheart of 29 years, Debbie!
I would like to request a continued outpouring of prayer and practical help for the people of West Africa. Though MY crisis has reached a successful end here, unfortunately the Ebola crisis continues to burn out of control in West Africa. SIM, the mission organization I am working with, is working hard to keep ELWA Hospital open as one of very few facilities operating in the capital at this time. ELWA provides power and water to two of the major Ebola treatment units, which are being operated on site, and needs more resources to keep the utilities operating.
Finally, ELWA Radio provides public education, encouragement and information to the general public about Ebola every day over FM radio. Please continue to join us in prayer and in providing resources to the people of Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea!
The CDC has declared me safe and free of virus! Thank God! I love you all!