November 15, 2014

Ebola, physicians and immunity

Now that we're bringing another physician with Ebola to the US for treatment, the tally of "the cured" is rising. There are now two doctors and three nurses who have survived Ebola in the United States. (I'm not counting the cameraman, since this post is about medical professionals.) Demons willing, the new doctor will also be cured, raising the number of medical staff cured in the US to six.

It is said that these doctors and nurses are now immune to Ebola. No one can truly know, of course. In the fullness of time, we will learn if anyone can be infected with Ebola twice. But so far it hasn't happened in any Ebola outbreak. The cured sure seem to be immune. 

This begs a question. If these three doctors return to Ebola-affected countries in the future, must they wear protective gear? The same goes for the three nurses. Will they be able to help Ebola patients without having to worry about contracting the virus themselves? Have these medical workers become, in effect, Super Medical Staff?

A crazy idea, perhaps. And once you open this door, an even crazier notion comes to mind. Is it possible that some medical professionals will purposely allow themselves to contract Ebola in the US, under controlled conditions in a hospital that can provide effective medical treatment? After all, we seem to be able to cure Ebola as long as the patient is treated soon after becoming infected.

As for the risk, there will always be altruists who are willing to suffer if they believe it will help others. So this is not totally out of the realm of possibility -- though it's doubtful because of liability issues. Still, a legal document signed beforehand could address such concerns. So who knows?

Surely I'm not the first to have these thoughts. But I haven't read anything about doctors with immunity, nor have I seen the issue discussed on TV, so I thought I'd throw it out there. Consider it thrown.

2 comments:

Artichoke Annie said...

Washington Post reports they are now two US deaths due to Ebola.

"Salia becomes only the second person to die of Ebola in the United States. The first, Thomas Eric Duncan, died at a Dallas hospital after contracting the virus in Liberia and then flying to the United States."

writenow said...

I just read about this. They say he was very sick when he arrived. I wonder why they waited to long to bring him here? Poor guy. He sounded like a great person. May he rest peacefully in the ground.