Nov 25, 2014
At the triage, there is a book for patient registration and it records all the important information including name, gender, age, and the most important column - the Ebola test result. This column will usually be blank until the announcement of the result from the laboratory.
It was a hot day. The outreach team brought me six patients altogether at the same time. It was a family, one adult and five children, the youngest one was a four-year-old girl. She was sitting on her sister and having candy in her mouth. She was so naïve and really had no idea what happened to her family and why she had to be referred here. One of their relatives died few days ago with unknown cause, but it is highly suspected to be Ebola. They lived together, and also had contact with the dead body in the funeral, so the chance of getting infected was very high. I decided to admit them to the suspected area for isolation and laboratory test. I put their information into the registration book, one by one as usual. I stopped for a while when I moved to the column for Ebola test result. I really hope this family would eventually be fine and the result to be negative, especially those children.
On the next day, the first thing I had to do was to check the laboratory report. Unfortunately, the spaces for Ebola test result had already been filled with six positive signs, clearly. That means they all got infected and needed immediate supportive treatment. I prayed for them in the triage station. Besides this family, I had also triaged more than a dozen of attendants on that day. Most of them were positive, unfortunately. I talked to myself optimistically that, one more patient in treatment center means one less patient in community and that patient can thus receive early and appropriate care. That is what we want and also the success of our work.
Honestly say, I was quite upset in writing a positive sign into the book. However I was also alerted from this positive sign that, as long as there is still a new confirmed case here, this smokeless war against Ebola is not over yet.