A Yorkshire medic risked his life to help save a newborn baby in Ebola hit West Africa, where the virus has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people.
Dr James Meiring, 30, from Sheffield - an infectious diseases trainee at the city’s Royal Hallamshire Hospital - was in Sierra Leone acting as a volunteer at the Makeni Ebola Treatment Centre.
The centre was built by the British Army and has so far screened more than 385 patients - 105 of whom tested positive for the virus. Tragically, just 32 of those recovered.
Dr Meiring assisted with the birth after lengthy night shift at the clinic and described the incredible situation in what now resembled a “war-zone”.
“There had been seven deaths the day before and I had to confirm two that morning. It’s an important job to get them ‘confirmed’ and get them moved out because they were highly infectious.”
An Ebola survivor, employed by the centre, then rushed out of the ward – an eight month pregnant woman, Memunatu Kamara, had given birth, with the baby hidden under some fabric on the floor in a pool of blood.
Dr Meiring returned to the red-zone and acted on instinct, with no prior experience, as a national nurse shouted orders for him to help.
“I clamped the cord, cut it, delivered the placenta, checked it was all intact, gave her some oxytocin and massaged her tummy,” he told a national newspaper.
“I scooped up baby and deposited him onto mum.
“It was the contrast of the birth to the rest of the situation that stood out to me at the time. We felt like we weren’t making any difference but we were.”
Asked why a young family man was willing to go to an area so dangerous, Dr Meiring said: “Mainly as a human being,
“I feel we have a responsibility to look after others. Sometimes these may be friends, neighbours or family and sometimes people we’ve never met.
“As a medic, I felt that this was something I could do to help.”
MEANWHILE, an Army Reservist who has been discharged from hospital after being successfully treated for Ebola said it was thanks to medical staff that she is alive.
Corporal Anna Cross, 25, told a press conference at London’s Royal Free Hospital that she had been treated by an “absolutely incredible bunch of clinicians”.
“Thanks to them I’m alive,” she added.
Cpl Cross, from Cambridge, also praised the NHS, which she works for, as well as the Army.
“If it wasn’t for both of those institutions I wouldn’t be here today,” she said.
Cpl Cross is the first person in the world to be treated with the experimental drug MIL 77 after choosing to do so following “careful consideration”, the hospital said.
She joined the Army Reserves in 2013 as a staff nurse and volunteered to help care for Ebola patients in Sierra Leone, arriving there last month.
She was evacuated back to the UK in an RAF plane on March 12 after becoming the third Briton to test positive for the virus.