Dr. Jeff Deal, WMI’s Director of Health Studies, is currently on the ground in Liberia teaching health care workers how to use a germ-fighting robot (TRU-D Smart UVCTM) that disinfects hospitals. These are excerpts from his correspondence with us. While on the ground, he has learned of the need for safe water, especially amongst the quarantined areas. Read about our response as we mobilize to help here.
That’s me using the TRU-D in the Ebola Treatment Unit of Elwa. The staff there are going great with it. It is a VERY well run unit with caring staff that work hard. I was able to get photos because I took in an underwater camera that I could drop in a bucket of chlorine on the way out.
I pretty much reached my physical limits today. By the time I went through the 20+ minute decontamination procedure I was getting a little dizzy. Fortunately, the ETU at JFK had a delay and I spent the rest of the afternoon trying to make contacts for the Water Missions International staff as they prepare to send in badly needed water systems.
Lots of people dying, but lots of people surviving because of the staff. After we suit up and before we go in, the staff form a circle and pray for protection and God’s blessing on their work. I think He’s listening. I know I am.
Frankly, I am very tired. I have decided that I can only do a single shift in the Ebola Treatment Units per day. The suits are hot and it is so hard to breath that I was dragging a bit at the end of my shift at ELWA ETU and struggled a little for a shift at JFK’s ETU. I don’t think I will try that again. Just too old and soft, I think.
The staff at ELWA are doing great, and we’ve got a good plan for the TRU-D. I trained the second and third shift so they know the process about as well as me. The doctor, Dr. Park, is very much on-board. All of them appreciate the donation of the TRU-D as the number of healthcare workers who have succumbed to the disease continues to rise. I fear that this epidemic is completely out of control.
This entire country has become instant germophobes. No one shakes hands. You have to wash your hands in bleach water before entering any building and in most you also have your temperature taken. I think Liberia is now the most hygienic place on earth.
The people here are kind and gracious (I could not resist the selfie with one staff member). They are putting up a valiant fight against this epidemic with very limited resources.
Great day in Liberia. Both units are now operating perfectly. I spent the afternoon in all the gear (that is me, the tall guy on the left) working in the Ebola Treatment Unit in ELWA. This is the same facility in which the Samaritan’s Purse doctor who ended up at Emory was working when he contracted the disease. The staff is great, and we’ve worked out most of the protocols for the TRU-D’s use. I am not worried as the staff watch me like a hawk to make sure I follow all of the decontamination procedures and frankly, we now have the TRU-D working for us as well. The suits are quite hot and after a few hours, I was beat.
I watched a Liberian nurse in full hazmat gear coaxing a two-year-old patient into drinking rehydration salt solutions while her mom lay on a mattress on the floor beside her very ill. She stayed there on her knees with the child until he had drunk the whole cup. I was decontaminating the next room with the TRU-D while she was with the child.
I saw a 12-year-old boy in the Confirmed Cases Ward washing plastic mattress covers. He had recovered and just wanted to work until he was released.
A beautiful nurse walked up and smiled at me. My first thought was “Why is she not in her protective gear?!!!!” But they said she had recovered and was waiting for release. She looked full of joy.
Protected in Liberia by God, my family and friends who pray for me, my hazmat suit that David Deal helped me pick out, and the TRU-D.
Jeff Continue Reading…