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Ebola Survivor Nancy Writebol, Visiting Dallas, Plans To Return To Liberia

Lauren Silverman
Nancy Writebol and her husband David at the Dallas Theological Seminary.

In September of last year, two missionaries became the first Americans diagnosed with Ebola in Liberia. Kent Brantly, a doctor who was trained in Fort Worth, and health care worker Nancy Writebol. This week, Writebol and her husband David are in town talking to students at Dallas Theological Seminary

KERA’s Lauren Silverman caught up with Writebol, who said in the months before she was infected, so many people were dying at their clinic that only one person made it out. 

Here’s a few highlights from Writebol's conversation with KERA:

On Ebola:

“It ravishes the body. And it’s cruel, the disease is cruel,” Writebol says.

In the first few months of treating Ebola patients for "Serving In Mission" (SIM) Writebol remembers the lone survivor, an 11-year-old boy.

“I was very thankful that he survived, we all were," she says. "It was amazing to see the day when he could walk out of there and go home to his family."

On keeping her faith:

“We just kept praying for every patient that came,” Writebol says. “When the doctors and nurses got ready to go in to isolation we always prayed as a team before they went in, prayed for the patients, prayed that the doctors and nurses would know how to deal with them physically.”

On returning to Liberia:

“We look forward to going back this spring,” she says.

“We have at our hospital begun an Ebola survivor’s clinic. So I’m looking forward to helping in that clinic and I’m looking forward also to helping get ministries started back up again.”

Lauren Silverman was the Health, Science & Technology reporter/blogger at KERA News. She was also the primary backup host for KERA’s Think and the statewide newsmagazine  Texas Standard. In 2016, Lauren was recognized as Texas Health Journalist of the Year by the Texas Medical Association. She was part of the Peabody Award-winning team that covered Ebola for NPR in 2014. She also hosted "Surviving Ebola," a special that won Best Long Documentary honors from the Public Radio News Directors Inc. (PRNDI). And she's won a number of regional awards, including an honorable mention for Edward R. Murrow award (for her project “The Broken Hip”), as well as the Texas Veterans Commission’s Excellence in Media Awards in the radio category.