Dr. Kent Brantly, 33, arrived Saturday in Atlanta from Liberia, where he and another American missionary worker contracted the deadly virus while caring for Ebola patients.
He released his first statement on Friday:
“I am writing this update from my isolation room at Emory University Hospital, where the doctors and nurses are providing the very best care possible. I am growing stronger every day, and I thank God for His mercy as I have wrestled with this terrible disease. I also want to extend my deep and sincere thanks to all of you who have been praying for my recovery as well as for Nancy and for the people of Liberia and West Africa.
My wife Amber and I, along with our two children, did not move to Liberia for the specific purpose of fighting Ebola. We went to Liberia because we believe God called us to serve Him at ELWA Hospital.
One thing I have learned is that following God often leads us to unexpected places. When Ebola spread into Liberia, my usual hospital work turned more and more toward treating the increasing number of Ebola patients. I held the hands of countless individuals as this terrible disease took their lives away from them. I witnessed the horror first-hand, and I can still remember every face and name.
When I started feeling ill on that Wednesday morning, I immediately isolated myself until the test confirmed my diagnosis three days later. When the result was positive, I remember a deep sense of peace that was beyond all understanding. God was reminding me of what He had taught me years ago, that He will give me everything I need to be faithful to Him.
Now it is two weeks later, and I am in a totally different setting. My focus, however, remains the same – to follow God. As you continue to pray for Nancy and me, yes, please pray for our recovery. More importantly, pray that we would be faithful to God’s call on our lives in these new circumstances.”
From an early age, Brantly was driven by his faith in God to make a difference, friends and former colleagues said. He took mission trips to Uganda, Honduras, Nicaragua, Tanzania and Haiti, they said.
“He intended to be a missionary before he became a doctor,” friend Kent Smith, an elder at Southside Church of Christ in Fort Worth, Texas, told CNN.
“Eventually, he decided medical mission is what he wanted to do.”
Brantly went to Liberia with his wife and two children last year to serve a two-year fellowship through Samaritan’s Purse post-residency program.
He was there initially to practice general medicine. But when the Ebola outbreak began, he took on the role of medical director for the Samaritan’s Purse Ebola Consolidated Case Management Center in Monrovia. It’s there that he tested positive for the virus, according to the evangelical Christian relief charity.
There is no known cure or vaccine for Ebola, and it has a mortality rate of up to 90%.
Brantly is in an isolation ward at Emory University Hospital, near the headquarters for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.