Health

Royal Free Ebola patient Pauline Cafferkey recovered and discharged

Pauline Cafferkey discharged and happy to be alilve.

Pauline Cafferkey successfully treated and discharged after being treated for the Ebola virus she picked up while working as a nurse in Sierra Leone. Image: Royal Free Hospital.

The Royal Free Hospital’s high level isolation unit has successfully treated its second patient for the deadly Ebola virus.

Scottish nurse Pauline Cafferkey caught the virus while caring for patients with Ebola in Sierra Leone.

She was admitted at the end of last year, and despite being described as critical at one stage, has pulled through and been discharged today.

The Hospital says she’s made a complete recovery and is now free of the virus.

She told the BBC:  “there was a point, which I remember clearly. I do remember saying: ‘That’s it, I’ve had enough’.”

Isolation unit for Ebola patients at the Royal Free

Some idea of the environment Pauline Cafferkey experienced when being treated in the High Level Isolation Unit. Image: Royal Free

She’s praised the staff who cared for her and said she was delighted to be going home after three weeks of intensive treatment.

She said:

I am just happy to be alive. I still don’t feel 100%, I feel quite weak, but I’m looking forward to going home. I want to say a big thank you to the staff who treated me – they were amazing. They were always very reassuring and I knew I was in the best hands. They saved my life.

She was treated by the Infectious Diseases team, led by Dr Michael Jacobs, which had also successfully treated the nurse William Pooley who has since returned to Sierra Leone to continue working with Ebola victims.

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Dr Jacobs said:

We are delighted that Pauline has recovered and is now well enough to go home. I am very proud of the staff who have been caring for her. It is because of the skill and hard work of the entire team that she is now able to go home.

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The Royal Free Hospital has the UK’s only HLIU.

The unit is designed to ensure staff can safely treat a patient with a dangerous infectious disease.

Access to the unit is restricted and there are a number of measures in place to ensure the virus is contained.

Special High Level Isolation Unit needed for Ebola patients

The special isolation unit at the Royal Free Hospital that has successfully treated 2 British nurses for the Ebola virus. Image: Royal Free

When leaving the hospital Pauline also wanted to thank the Royal Free Charity, which donated an iPad for her to use while she was in the unit:

As I was beginning to recover, I listened to lots of music when I was in the HLIU and that was a massive help … I also had lots of Irn Bru to help me through!

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