Ebola: Brisbane doctor Jenny Stedmon reveals horror of outbreak

Tuesday, September 30, 2014
By Paul Martin

News.com.au
September 30, 2014

A QUEENSLAND doctor has revealed her first-hand experience treating Ebola and shared the emotional toll the deadly disease has taken on her.

Dr Jenny Stedmon returned to her Brisbane home last week after spending a month volunteering in west Africa, treating people struck down by the horror epidemic.

The conditions were exhausting, the region was volatile and the emotional toll was crushing, but her message is that the world needs to do much more to ensure that the epidemic is brought under control.

Dr Stedmon spent the month in Kanama, Sierra Leone, at the Red Cross tent-based health facility, which was established because the country’s hospitals were overrun with patients.

“It’s very intense because it’s very different to working like I do in hospitals in Australia as an anaesthetist,” she told news.com.au.

“The numbers were overwhelming. The hospitals don’t have enough space, so it’s pretty full-on; but it’s really important work that’s going on.”

The disease is deadly, incurable and highly contagious, so all doctors wear uncomfortable personal protective equipment (PPEs) before tending to patients.

“They are the space suits you see on the news. That is a reality. It’s a hot, humid, environment, so you get hot and you get exhaustion. It’s challenging work, not like working in a nice airconditioned environment in Australia.”

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