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American Doctor With Ebola Says He "Witnessed Horror" In West Africa

The American doctor who contracted Ebola in Liberia released his first statement since returning to the U.S. for treatment.

Posted on August 8, 2014, at 3:42 p.m. ET


Dr. Kent Brantly speaks with colleagues at the case management center on the campus of ELWA Hospital in Monrovia, Liberia.

Dr. Kent Brantly, one of two Americans undergoing treatment for Ebola at Emory University Hospital, says he is "growing stronger every day," in his first statement since he returned from West Africa.

Dr. Brantly and aid worker Nancy Writebol, who were both working with international aid organization Samaritan's Purse, were transported earlier this week to the hospital in Atlanta after testing positive for the deadly disease in Liberia.

"I held the hands of countless individuals as this terrible disease took their lives away," Brantly says. "I witnessed the horror firsthand, and can still remember every face and name."

Read Dr. Brantly's full statement:

I am writing this update from my isolation room at Emory University Hospital, where the doctors and nurses are providing the very best care possible. I am growing stronger every day, and I thank God for His mercy as I have wrestled with this terrible disease. I also want to extend my deep and sincere thanks to all of you who have been praying for my recovery as well as for Nancy (Writebol) and for the people of Liberia and West Africa.

My wife Amber and I, along with our two children, did not move to Liberia for the specific purpose of fighting Ebola. We went to Liberia because we believe God called us to serve Him at ELWA Hospital.

One thing I have learned is that following God often leads us to unexpected places. When Ebola spread into Liberia, my usual hospital work turned more and more toward treating the increasing number of Ebola patients. I held the hands of countless individuals as this terrible disease took their lives away from them. I witnessed the horror firsthand, and I can still remember every face and name.

When I started feeling ill on that Wednesday morning, I immediately isolated myself until the test confirmed my diagnosis three days later. When the result was positive, I remember a deep sense of peace that was beyond all understanding. God was reminding me of what He had taught me years ago, that He will give me everything I need to be faithful to Him.

Now it is two weeks later, and I am in a totally different setting. My focus, however, remains the same — to follow God. As you continue to pray for Nancy and me, yes, please pray for our recovery. More importantly, pray that we would be faithful to God's call on our lives in these new circumstances.

Dr. Brantly arrived at Emory University Hospital on Saturday, Aug. 2, to be treated for Ebola in isolation. Nancy Writebol arrived earlier this week.

AP Photo/WSB-TV Atlanta

Dr. Brantly being helped from the ambulance outside Emory University Hospital.

According to the World Health Organization, more than 1,700 people have contracted Ebola in West Africa and 971 have died. To date, 294 people have died in Liberia where Brantly and Writebol were working.

Handout / Reuters

Dr. Kent Brantly (left) caring for Ebola patients at the case management center on the campus of ELWA Hospital in Monrovia, Liberia.