Fatu Kekula is a 22-year old student in her final year of nursing school, and she single-handedly nursed three of her four Ebola-infected relatives back to health without the aid of health workers, hospital, or equipment. This alone is an amazing feat, but she managed to achieve this without becoming infected herself, despite not having access to decontamination equipment or protective gear, CNN reported.
Fatu’s father, mother, sister, and cousin all became ill with the virus after her father, Moses, showed signs of infection with high blood pressure, fever, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Moses was taken to a hospital in Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, but was turned away by three hospitals–there is little to no space left in many hospitals because of the overwhelming number of infected patients. Another hospital told Fatu that Moses had typhoid fever.
Fatu took him home to care for him, where her mother, sister, and cousin all became infected.
It took her two weeks to get her family to pull through the deadly virus. She kept them quarantined in the family home, and without the appropriate medical protective gear she had to get inventive.
To protect herself while she treated the infected family, she wore a heavily insulated raincoat, rubber boots, trash bags under her socks and over her hair and boots, trash bags to cover her hair, multiple pairs of gloves, and a medical mask to cover her nose and mouth.
Because professional medical gear is unavailable to most of the people living in West Africa, international aid workers are reportedly teaching her “trash bag method” as a way to stay safe from exposure.
Fatu consulted with doctors—who would not come to the house—over the phone as she nursed her relatives, and was able to get medicine and intravenous fluid lines from a local clinic.
Although her cousin never recovered and fell victim to Ebola, her father, mother and sister, are all recovering and were admitted to a hospital for recovery treatment.
Her story is a bright light of survival and hope as heartbreaking news continues to break about the Ebola epidemic bringing devastation throughout West Africa.