BY AYO OLOWO
It was about 9pm on July 20, 2014, that First Consultants Medical Centre, Obalende, Lagos, received an unwanted guest, uninvited visitor. He arrived at the Murtala Muhammed Airpot from an international flight and feeling unwell, he was brought in, his name given as Patrick Sawyer, a Liberian-American.
That singular unwanted guest changed the course of the hospital, and put Nigeria on global alert as one of the West African countries hit by a strange, quickly-killing viral disease. Sawyer would eventually die, but not until he had managed to contrive the eventual death of eight brave Nigerians.
In early July 2014, Sawyer’s sister had died of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD). At the time, information in Liberia on the deadliness and contagiousness of the virus was inadequate; it was unknown that contact with the corpse of an Ebola victim spelled death for the living. So after attending her sister’s burial and ostensibly having contact with the corpse, Sawyer contracted the virus. On arrival at First Consultants, he claimed to have malaria and was so treated, but blood patches in his urine and eyes forced the hospital to carry out further checks.
Although Sawyer requested to be quickly discharged so he could attend an ECOWAS convention in Calabar, Stella Adadevoh, chief physician of the hospital, triggered an incident committee, which continued to study his symptoms, conducted tests and eventually knew his sickness was far beyond malaria. It was Ebola!
His act put the country in jeopardy and led to so many deaths. The dogged approach of the then governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Fashola helped to curb the virus.
Nigerians will not forget the threat brought by a single entity on July 20, 2014.
Copyright KOKOMANSION MEDIA