Dr. Olivet Buck has become the fourth doctor to die from Ebola in Sierra Leone, just hours after an attempt to transport her overseas for treatment failed.
Dr. Buck passed away late Saturday, according to NBC News. Sierra Leone had requested funding from the World Health Organization to transport Buck to Europe for treatment, saying they could not afford to lose another doctor to Ebola. The WHO denied the request, however, stating that it could not help medically evacuate her to Germany. Instead, the organization said that it would give her the best possible care in Sierra Leone, including access to experimental drugs designed to combat Ebola.
As ABC News notes, more than 300 Doctors and health workers have been stricken with Ebola during the current outbreak, in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. By the WHO’s count, nearly half of them have died from the disease, further straining an already overwhelmed response in the Western African nations, which were short on skilled doctors before the outbreak began.
— CBC World News (@CBCWorldNews) September 14, 2014
Ebola is spread through direct contact with the bodily fluid of an infected patient, a fact that makes health workers and doctors particularly susceptible to infection. There is no vaccine for Ebola nor any approved treatment.
As The Washington Post noted, the Ebola outbreak is overwhelming the country of Liberia. David Nabarro, a top United Nations official, has declared that the infection rate is dramatically increasing. The U.N. special envoy to Liberia, Karin Landgren, issued his own warning about the severity of the Ebola outbreak to the Security Council.
“The Ebola crisis has become complex,” He said, “with political, security, economic and social implications that will continue to affect the country well beyond the current medical emergency.”
— Independent.ie (@Independent_ie) September 14, 2014
Four doctors infected with Ebola have been flown to the United States for treatment, as The Inquisitr previously noted. Two have recovered from the disease, while the others are still fighting it. An undisclosed number of patients have also been evacuated to the U.S. by Phoenix Air Group, although it is not believed that they are all infected with the Ebola virus.
“We moved a lot of other people who had an exposure event,” said Dent Thompson, Vice President of the company. “Many times these people are just fine, they just had an exposure. But you have to treat it as though the disease is present.”
Sierra Leone’s top Ebola doctor, Dr. Sheik Humarr Khan, died in July while waiting for evacuation to a European country for treatment.
[Image via Global Post]