Dr. Kent Brantly spoke with TODAY co-host Matt Lauer in an exclusive interview Tuesday night. Dr. Brantly and colleague Nancy Writebol were diagnosed with Ebola fever in late July while working at a hospital in Liberia. They were flown back to a special unit in Atlanta, Georgia, and given an experimental serum to help them fight off the disease.
Brantly told Lauer in an interview that he’s still weak, but is improving every day. He also told the TODAY Show co-host that he wanted to tell his story so Americans don’t forget the terrible situation going on in West Africa.
The American doctor recalled of the morning he first felt symptoms of the virus:
I woke up that morning, and really I just felt a little off; felt a little warm, a little under the weather. I took my temperature and it was 100.00, I think.
Brantly added that he was thankful that morning that he woke up alone, rather than with his wife, Amber, and his children nearby.” He explained, “That would have been an overwhelming mental burden if I had woken up sick next to my wife with one of my kids snuggled up next to me.”
Amber and the couple’s children left Liberia three days earlier to attend a wedding in Texas. Dr. Kent Brantly also told Matt Lauer that he was “very close” to the doctor for SIM USA who was infected with Ebola at the hospital where Brantly worked in Liberia. That doctor’s name has not been released.
Brantly told Lauer, “I was notified about that this morning. I spent a good long while tearful, in prayer.”
The doctor and his wife have been living in seclusion in Asheville, North Carolina with their children since his release from Emory University Hospital nearly two weeks ago. While he is still thin from the virus’ toll on his body, Dr. Kent Brantly looked healthy and spoke in a quiet voice.
Amber Brantly recalled waiting for a call from her husband to find out what disease he had. She told Matt Lauer, “When he did call to tell me he had Ebola… I don’t know if I can describe that.” With tears in her eyes, she added, “I knew what was coming. I had seen him treat these people who had already been diagnosed. And I knew how it ends.”
Thankfully for the Brantlys, Kent’s death did not come. Instead, he continues to recover. As for returning to Liberia at some point to continue his work, the Ebola survivor told Matt Lauer that it’s not decided — yet.