Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Ebola virus disease

I never finished unpacking from my trip to Tanzania.

A couple of weeks ago I received an Email from the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene that included contact information for several organizations that are recruiting nurses and doctors to work in the Ebola epidemic response in West Africa. My first thought was that I couldn't do it, I couldn't leave Holly and Andrew again, I can't afford to leave work for an extended period of time. I jokingly forwarded the Email to Holly and my supervisor expecting a chorus of, "No!"

At some point that day, I couldn't think of anything else.

I sat down with Holly and told her what I had been thinking. This is what is needed to end this epidemic. This is why I became a nurse. This is why I got a degree in tropical medicine. I want to set an example for my son. I thought she would object. She didn't. Holly has been very supportive. She has prayed that this would work out.

It has. I'm going to Liberia Sierra Leone.

I've been offered a temporary position with Partners In Health. In a few weeks I'll go to Atlanta for training at the CDC, then I'll receive two weeks training in Liberia, and then I'll spend four weeks at my worksite.

The hardest thing about being in Tanzania for a month was being away from my little boy. The hardest part of making my decision  to go to Liberia is being away from Andrew for even longer than my trip to Tanzania. I'll be able to Skype Holly and Andrew while I'm in Liberia, which will make that a little easier. I plan to make spending time with Andrew my priority between now and the time I leave for Atlanta.

This is a presentation on Ebola virus disease that I gave to the Pierce County Medical Reserve Corps on Monday:


  1. Matthew - I don't know you well - just an occassional "Hi!" across the pew at Trinity Presbyterian Church - but I just want to say I have the utmost respect for you responding to the call to go to Liberia. Please know that I will keep you, Holly and your son in my prayers regularly in the coming months. Grace and peace, Heidi Husted Armstrong

    1. Thank you!
      I'll try to post blog entries while I'm in Liberia, but I had a difficult time doing that in Tanzania and I suspect it will be even more difficult in Liberia.