Monrovia – Dr. Abraham Borbor, Deputy Chief Medical Doctor at Liberia’s leading medical institution, the John F. Kennedy Medical Center and one of three doctors recently injected with the Anti-Ebola trial drug, ZMAPP has died.
In confirming Dr. Borbor’s death to FrontPageAfrica late Sunday night, Information Minister Lewis Brown, said the news came as a shock because the veteran doctor had been improving since the drug was administered.
“He was walking around yesterday and the doctors were hopeful that he would make a full recovery. “He was a classmate in high school, so this hits close to home,” Brown said of Borbor, who was the only recorded internist in Liberia.
Three dosages of the ZMAPP arrived in Liberia on August 14 and administered to Dr. Borbor, along with a Nigerian doctor, Dr. Aroh Cosmos Izchukwu and a Ugandan doctor assisting the JFK Hospital.
Another prominent JFK Doctor, Dr. Phillip Zokonis Ireland who was in isolation along with Dr. Borbor, walked out of the isolation unit last week, but was not one of the recipients of the ZMAPP drug. The drug has already been administered to two American health care workers and a Spanish priest, all previously working in Liberian hospitals. The two American doctors, survived while the Spanish priest died.
Dr. Kent Brantly and aid worker, Nancy Writebol both of the medical humanitarian group, Samaritan Purse, were discharged last week from Emory University Hospital in Atlanta after recovering from Ebola and testing clear of the virus. Writebol left the hospital on Tuesday, August 19 and has since joined her husband David at an undisclosed location to rest, SM said last week.
Dr. Brantly released last Thursday from the same hospital where Nancy underwent treatment. Dr. Borbor’s death comes as two Ebola deaths have been confirmed in the Democratic Republic of Congo. A total of 2,615 Ebola infections and 1,427 deaths have been recorded in the outbreak now hitting West Africa, according to figures released on Friday by the WHO.
Until now, the Ebola outbreak had been confined to West Africa: Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria, and Guinea. Health care workers have been hit the most. Like Liberia, both Sierra Leone and Nigeria also lost top doctors.
In Sierra Leone, Sheik Umar Khan, was credited with treating more than 100 patients before succumbing to Ebola. In Nigeria, Dr. Ameyo Stella Adadevoh, who is credited for keeping Ebola at bay and restricting Patrick Sawyer to his bed after he tried to remove the drip administered to him, died last week, the fifth death in Africa’s most populous nation.
Sawyer, 40, died in a Lagos hospital on July 25, five days after arriving at the city's airport visibly unwell on a flight from the Liberian capital, Monrovia. Dr. Borbor’s death comes as a shock to JFK, which recently lost its top doctor, Dr. Samuel Brisbane also from the deadly Ebola virus. Dr. Borbor, like Dr. Brisbane was a mentor to a lot of young doctors and nurses at the hospital. His death sent shockwaves across the country.
The hospital was forced to shut down at the height of the Ebola crisis and only recently began picking up the pieces amid numerous challenges; key among them is convincing the nurses who have lost their top two doctors to return to work. Dr. Wvannie-Mae Scott-McDonald, Chief Administrator acknowledged to FrontPageAfrica last week that Dr. Brisbane’s death was a tough pill to swallow for nurses and other doctors.
“All the nurses abandoned the hospital and we could not blame them because this man Dr. Brisbane was somebody, very good who could do a lot of work, losing him caused trauma for everybody”, she lamented. With Dr. Borbor now gone, the hospital appears poised to endure a lot of difficult times as it appeals for international aid and goodwill to replace its top surgeons, lost to Ebola.