Family of Suffolk nurse who contracted deadly Ebola thank those fighting to save his life

Liberian soldiers scan people for signs of the Ebola virus, as they control people from entering the West Point area in the city of Monrovia, Liberia, at the weekend. (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh) Liberian soldiers scan people for signs of the Ebola virus, as they control people from entering the West Point area in the city of Monrovia, Liberia, at the weekend. (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)

Monday, August 25, 2014
9:23 AM

The family of British Ebola victim William Pooley has thanked doctors fighting to save his life for the “excellent care” he is being given.

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In their first statement since the 29 year-old volunteer nurse, from Eyke, near Woodbridge, was flown back to the UK last night for emergency treatment, his family paid tribute to those who orchestrated his quick return.

They said: “We would like to express our thanks to all involved in bringing our son back to the UK.

“We have been astounded by the speed and way which the various international and UK government agencies have worked together to get Will home.

“Will is receiving excellent care at the Royal Free Hospital and we could not ask for him to be in a better place.

“We would like to thank all our family and friends for their best wishes and ask everyone to remember those in other parts of the world suffering with Ebola who do not have access to the same healthcare facilities as Will.”

Mr Pooley, who contracted deadly Ebola in Sierra Leone, is being treated at a specialist isolation ward at the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead, north London.

Dr Oliver Johnson, who has been treating patients in Freetown, said his friend Mr Pooley was an “extraordinary guy” who knew the risks involved but was prepared to take them for the sake of the patients and his colleagues.

He said: “He and I spoke about the risk together and I think he absolutely understood that there were risks involved.

“He also knew, though, that he was well trained and there were good precautions in place, so it was a measured risk.

“But where he was in Kenema a number of staff had become sick.

“He was a hugely professional nurse and a hugely dedicated one, so he understood those (risks) but was prepared to take them for the sake of the patients and colleagues he had there.”

Dr Johnson told BBC Radio 4’s World at One: “I knew Will before he first came out to Sierra Leone, we discussed his plans for coming out.

“When the Ebola outbreak really hit, he moved up to Kenema, right to the epicentre of the outbreak to try and help.

“So he and I, my team and him, were in regular contact sharing experiences and when he came to Freetown we would share a beer.”

He added: “Will’s a pretty extraordinary guy. Even for those of us working with Ebola patients in Sierra Leone, he stood out as being particularly brave and really from the beginning he was determined to help in any way he could, not just help patients but I think he had enormous loyalty towards the other staff at Kenema.”

If you know Mr Pooley and would like to get in contact call the Suffolk newsteam on 01473 324802 or email matt.hunter@archant.co.uk

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