Monrovia - Dr. Abraham Borbor, Deputy Chief Medical Doctor at Liberia’s leading medical institution, the John F. Kennedy Medical Center who died from Ebola on Sunday, was not treated like any other Ebola dead.
He was not wrapped in a white body bag or had men dressed in their space suits spraying him. He was treated like any normal dead body. He was placed in a coffin after thorough spraying by men who work at the Ebola isolation center where he died at the ELWA hospital in Monrovia. The late Dr. Borbor’s family was allowed with a few of his co-workers to take the body away under the watch of Dr. Bernice Dahn, Chief medical officer of Liberia because the Ebola burial team had promised to come but did not show up.
Dr. Moses Massaquoi, Case Management coordinator of the Ebola Task Force is a colleague of the late medical practitioner who contracted the virus while caring for other persons infected with the disease at the John F. Kennedy Medical center in Monrovia. Dr. Massaquoi confirmed that Dr. Borbor was administered the full dose of the experimental drug Z-Mapp, but he passed away in the early evening of Sunday. Dr. Massaquoi could not confirm if his colleague was responding to treatment, or if he died as a result of failure of the drug.
“He finished the full course. He also had some co-mobility. He had other problems than just Ebola,” said Dr. Massaquoi. That I don’t know that is why we are doing the test. His sample was taken yesterday and we want to know whether it worked. Three people took it. Two doctors, one nurse.”
One of the mourners who went to witness the removal of the body confided in FrontPageAfrica adding that at first when the family came to the Isolation unit at the ELWA hospital to receive the mortal remains of Dr. Borbor, medical authorities refused to hand the body over, but after calls were placed to the President, they were allowed to take custody of the remains to bury.
People who knew the late medical doctor continued to pour out their condolences to his family. The Executive Director of the National Investment Commission, George G. Wisner wrote on his Facebook page in tribute to Dr. Borbor, calling him a patriot. “Another soldier has fallen! Ebola has struck again! Dr. Borbor, the only in-house internist at the JFK referral hospital is dead. May the Lord bless and keep his soul,” he stated.
“He will be remembered as a patriot and a hero who laid down his life in the service of his nation and humanity. May his death inspire us all to push ahead and combat this menace. 'We either hang together or be hung separately'. We will overcome. This too will pass! Long live the motherland!”
Dallamah Sulonteh, another sympathizer said: “I'm very saddened for the death of a dear brother and comrade who committed himself to serving humanity, "May his soul rest in peace" and God consoles his family! RIP Dr. Borbor!!!”
The death of Dr. Borbor now raises more questions about the administration of the experimental drug Z-Mapp that has been given to some health practitioners who have been infected with the deadly Ebola virus. Information Minister Lewis Brown told FrontPageAfrica on Sunday following Dr. Borbor’s death that 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 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 also 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 was 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.
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.