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Dr. Phillip Ireland Testimonial

My name is Dr. Phillip Ireland, an internist at the John F. Kennedy hospital in Monrovia, Liberia, and I am an Ebola survivor, 2014.

As an ER physician, I was well aware of the risk and danger I faced daily attending to people from all walks of life. But little was I prepared that my own personal battle with Ebola would completely change my life forever. In mid-July I was on duty in the ER when suddenly I suffered a severe throbbing headache, accompanied by flashes of light.

That morning the ER director and the physician assistant had been rushed to an Ebola treatment unit (ETU) gravely ill and suspected of Ebola. My fear was heightened because the PA had been treated by me earlier. Later that day, we had an emergency ER staff meeting to discuss the grave situation we were in. Half way into the meeting my heart began to race and I felt feverish. I began to wonder if in fact I was the next staff member to be infected with Ebola virus. I knew there was no cure or vaccine. I felt strongly that I had contracted the virus and so I immediately sought help in the Ebola treatment Center but my condition was confused with malaria and I was sent home with antimalarial meds. The misdiagnosis could have cost me my life and that of my family and countless others.

Unconvinced, I reluctantly went home and isolated myself. Worrying about my family’s health, I sent my wife and children to a safer place, but my mother stayed to attend to me despite the risk of contracting the Ebola virus. Over the next few days my health rapidly declined. I experienced severe headache, unremitting high fever, severe weakness, muscle ache, and pronounced anorexia---such that I did not have the desire to eat nor drink for several days. It was during this period of continuous decline that I was eventually tested positive for the Ebola virus at the ETU that had previously turned me away. Since there were no cure the available treatment was a symptomatic protocol at the time, and I was sent home because the only available ETU was filled to capacity. There were many very sick and weak people lying lifeless under the trees around the ETU waiting for someone to die so a bed could be available. I saw families curdling their loved ones in spite of the fact they had been warned that touching an Ebola patient can result in transmission of the virus.

This was in late July 2014 when Ebola was sweeping through the country and there was no available bed in the ETU. My brave mother cared for me risking her own life with only homemade protective gowns and gloves. It was at this time, Dr. Billy Johnson, chief medical officer(CMO) of the JFK Medical Center learned about my condition and after his initial consultation immediately began to provide me his Antioxidant and Anti-inflammatory Immune & Energy Cocktails. After the forceful ingestion of the Cocktails, the very next day, the fever left me, my appetite came back and my strength was dramatically improved. I was able to bath after several days of being bedridden and extremely weak. To my surprise I was requesting for more food, and I also played my favorite instrument, the guitar. As my condition improved I began to ponder, and the only thing in my experience that was responsible for my quick turnaround in my state of health was the Almighty God through the Antioxidant and Anti-inflammatory Immune & Energy Cocktails provided to me by Dr. Johnson.

My progress was steady, but unbeknown to Dr. Johnson, an HIV cocktail was added to my regimen assuming Ebola and HIV are both viruses and share common attack strategy. I was not happy with the decision at all, and against the advice of Dr. Johnson, I reluctantly took the HIV cocktail, and immediately my condition began to deteriorate. I started vomiting profusely and had persistent diarrhea with severe weakness and my body ached all over. I felt like my situation had turned around for the worst. All of a sudden, I was again fighting for my life. I had not the desire to eat or drink. It became clear that I urgently needed IV fluids and that could only be done at the ETU.

After what seemed like an eternity of waiting, one of the few ambulances at the time took me to the ETU where I was pumped back to life with IV fluids, and very slowly started to feel alive again. In the ETU my wife visited me daily and brought me food and snicked in the previous Antioxidant and Anti-inflammatory Immune & Energy Cocktails I was taking. I took the cocktails religiously and felt my appetite and energy returning rapidly. In fact as I got stronger and regained my strength, I began to help and encourage the other patients, some of whom were my fellow colleague doctors and health workers.

Without any doubt, my healing was a triumph for me as I walked from death back to life. But sadly, I was deeply traumatized and haunted by all the sufferings and dying around me and the awful scenes of patients lying in their vomitus and feces gave me goose bombs and nightmares that will forever remain in my memory as the worst moments of human suffering and hopelessness.

Finally, on August 15, 2014, I walked triumphantly out of the ETU to the cheers, and jubilation of my family, colleagues, friends and strangers, a changed man.

My story has been reported on several media platforms including ELBC, BBC, CNN, Time Magazine, PSI, and at the Yale forum in New Haven, Connecticut.

Ebola claimed the lives of more than 150 health workers in Liberia, while more than 4,500 people died in Liberia according to WHO.

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