Dunmow doctor flies to Sierra Leone to join fight against ebola
PUBLISHED: 10:38 11 December 2014 | UPDATED: 10:38 11 December 2014
A Dunmow doctor has given up a family Christmas to join the frontline battle against ebola in Sierra Leone.
Dr Neil Studd, 27, is putting himself at “significant risk” of catching the deadly disease so he can help those affected in the third world country.
The Church End resident flew from Heathrow to Sierra Leone’s capital, Freetown, on Sunday and will not be returning to England until January.
Dr Studd, who is taking annual leave from his role at Colchester General Hospital for the trip, told the Broadcast: “I have watched the story unfold since March when it was being reported in the media and I realised that I had some skills to offer which might help.
He added: “If I was not scared of the risks then I would be a danger to the patients and the volunteers. But we are very clear there is a job that needs doing to help these people who are going through a horrific level of suffering.”
Dr Studd will be spending a month at an isolation unit run by the King’s Sierra Leone Partnership. His duties in Freetown will include treating infected patients who arrive at the isolation unit and designing processes to manage them as effectively as possible.
“They made it clear that the work will be physically and psychologically challenging, dealing each day with the catastrophic effects of the virus and seeing families torn apart,” he said.
“As a doctor I have skills that are needed, if that means exposing myself to these physical and psychological challenges then so be it.”
Even though Dr Studd said he will be sad to miss Christmas at home when he is away, he added it “seems like an irrelevance compared with the suffering people are going through in Sierra Leone”.
He added: “My family and the hospital have been very supportive and I have had a lot of messages from the local community. I am probably going to miss waking up in my own bed on Christmas Day but it will be a great comfort knowing everyone at home is backing and supporting me.”