It’s hard to imagine the sense of relief that Dr. Kent Brantly felt when he walked out of an Atlanta hospital Thursday.
For several weeks, the physician who had completed his residency at Fort Worth’s John Peter Smith Hospital, lay stricken with the deadly Ebola virus. He contracted it while in Liberia administering care through a Christian humanitarian group called Samaritan’s Purse to other patients afflicted with the disease.
He first reported symptoms of the deadly illness on July 23, and in the ensuing weeks he was given an experimental treatment and flown in isolation to Emory University Hospital. There a team of five doctors and 21 nurses cared for him.
The resources and attention devoted to his healing were not lost on Brantly, whose humble words at a Thursday news conference showed gratitude not only for his temporal care but for divine intervention that he believes made his recovery possible.
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“God saved my life — the direct answer to thousands and thousands of prayers,” he said confidently, referring to people the world over who had been praying that his health be restored.
Standing in front of his team of medical caregivers, Brantly’s sincere expression of deep and abiding faith must have resonated with even the most stubborn religious skeptic in the room.
Most Ebola victims are not so lucky as Brantly. Official estimates by the World Health Organization of known, suspected or probable Ebola cases during the most recent outbreak are close to 2,500 — more than half of whom have died.
Brantly recounted how he and his family were first called by God to serve the people of Liberia.
That service exposed him to the virus that nearly took his life, but it has also drawn attention to the plight of the people he was trying to help.
And it is those people, whose suffering continues, that Brantly urged listeners to “not stop praying” for.
Doctors were careful not to credit the experimental drug ZMapp with Brantly’s recovery, or that of his colleague Nancy Writebol.
It was likely a combination of influences that led to the “miraculous” rehabilitation of both.
There is little doubt that Brantly’s faith and the countless prayers of other are two of those factors.