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Cuban doctor who survived Ebola returns to Kerry Town

January 27, 2015 

A Cuban medical doctor who was treated for Ebola returned to Kerry Town to thank the UK Military Health Care Workers who helped him to defeat this terrible disease.

Dr. Felix Baez was admitted to the now 20 bed Ebola Virus Disease Treatment Unit in November after becoming infected. Although the World Health Organisation took the decision to move him to Geneva for treatment, there was no doubt in his mind that the treatment he received from British Military staff was second to none.

Dr. Baez was accompanied by his colleagues Felippo and Jorge Delgado Bastillo to meet the Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Alison McCourt and her team of Health Care Workers.  After their first meeting in very different circumstances two months ago, Dr. Baez was “very happy” to see Alison and her team again.

Although he was not allowed inside, the first thing Dr. Baez was shown was the ward tent where he stayed during his time in Kerry Town. His old room brought back memories of stay and Jorge, with a better command of English, told the team that Dr. Baez always tells people and journalists that the UK Military staff saved his life.

He said, “The first step in saving his life was you, the UK Military staff working in this Ebola treatment centre”. He went on to say, “They bring the human touch to their patients, it was like a family. It is not just one more patient, it is a special person who receives the very best treatment as part of that family”.

There has been a change around in the staff and Major Nell Light, who is Officer Commanding the 20 bed EVDTU, was the only Health Care Worker left in Sierra Leone who helped to evacuate Dr. Baez by road to the Lungi airport for onward travel to Geneva. They exchanged their very different experiences of that trip from Kerry Town to the airport under Sierra Leone Police escort. Nell from the relative comfort of a car, Dr. Baez in an ambulance on his own; he said that he thought he had driven for so long that he was in Guinea. In fact it was only a two-and-a-half hour drive.

Addressing the UK and Canadian Military staff, Dr. Baez said, “I am very happy to come back to Sierra Leone and very happy to meet you all and very proud to be treated by the UK Military doctors. I had very good treatment from very kind people; I am very happy”.

Recalling his experience, Dr. Baez said, “After 12 days I felt very well and I only had to wait for the negative tests to come through”. He starts work in the Port Loko Ebola Treatment Centre on Monday (today).

Both Colonel Alison and Dr. Baez agreed that one of the main things that saved his life was seeking early treatment for the disease.

Staff from the UK and Canadian military are currently managing the 20 bed Ebola Treatment Unit for Health Care Workers at Kerry Town.

CREDIT: CJIATF Headquarters