Give Her A Medal: Woman Saves Family Members From Ebola

October 13, 2014  |  

Fatu Kekula is a hero. The 22-year-old Liberian nursing student, in her final year, managed to save the members of her immediate family from the ebola virus, all without the help and convenience of a hospital.

The feat cannot be over exaggerated when people in West Africa and here in America are dying at a 70 percent rate from the virus. And many of them were treated in some type of medical facility.

Kekula reduced the rate to 25 percent. Four of her family members were infected with the virus. Her father, Moses, her mother Victoria, her sister Vivian and her 14-year-old cousin Alfred Winnie.  Sadly, Kekula’s cousin succumbed to the virus.

It’s also impressive to note that while Kekula was treating her family members she managed to avoid ebola entirely.

Here’s how she did it.

All of this began towards the end of July. On July 27, Kekula’s father, Moses, went to a hospital in Kakata, after his blood pressure spiked. The only reason the hospital had a bed to offer him was because someone had just died. But staffers didn’t realize the patient died from an Ebola infection. Shortly, after he was admitted to the hospital, Moses developed a fever, started vomiting and was suffering from diarrhea.

Once nurses started dying of ebola, the hospital shut down and Moses had to leave. Kekula drove 90 minutes to Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, to seek treatment. Three hospitals turned them away because they had reached capacity.

Kekula made the drive back to Kakata to another hospital. They told Moses he had typhoid fever and did very little to treat him. So Kekula took him home. Once he was there, he infected three other family members. Her mother, sister and their cousin who was living with them.

Kekula began operating as her own hospital for two weeks. During this time Kekula consulted with her family doctor who agreed to talk to her over the phone but would not come to the house. She gave her family members medicine she obtained from a local clinic and fluids through intravenous lines she started.

Here’s how Kekula managed to save her family and protect herself in the process.

Several times a day, for two weeks Kekula put trash bags over her socks and tied them in a knot over her calves.

– Then she put on a pair of rubber boots and then another set of trash bags over the boots.

– She wrapped her hair in a pair of stockings and over that a trash bag.

– Then she wore a raincoat

– Four pairs of gloves on each hand

– And a mask.

There were times her family’s blood pressures dipped so low, she feared they would all die.

She told CNN, “I cried many times. I said ‘God, you want to tell me I’m going to lose my entire family?'”

But that wasn’t the case. Kekula only lost one patient, her cousin. Her method proved so effective, international aid workers, including UNICEF, began teaching it to others in West Africa who may not be able to get to hospitals for treatment.

Her father, mother and sister were already recovering when space became available at the JFK Medical Center on August 17. Alfred passed away at the hospital the next day.

Kekula’s father, Moses said, “I’m very, very proud. She saved my life through the almighty God.”

Now, Moses is working on getting a scholarship to finance Fatu’s last year of nursing school.

He said, “I’m sure she’ll be a great giant of Liberia.”

You can watch Fatu Kekula and the family members whose lives she saved in the video below.

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