D’Geedawoi Johnson and Robert Kpoto came to the Monrovia Medical Unit (MMU) after being confirmed with the Ebola virus disease while providing care in Liberia, but today, December 8, 2014, both men walked out under clear skies on a warm day ready to reunite with their families.
D’Geedawoi stops just long enough to look back and share a smile with the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps officers waiting beside the Ebola survivor board for the release of the next patient. D’Geedawoi, a father of 4 children, 2 boys and 2 girls, with his wife Sadatu age 32, is grateful for all that was done for him at the MMU but he is anxious to get home. D’Geedawoi, age 46, is full of energy and ready to return to his work as a Drug Dispenser and Contact Tracer. He told us, “ever since I experienced the illness of Ebola all I could think about was death.” He went on to say that after being infected and then getting the news that he was negative, he felt encouraged to tell others about this place. D’Geedawoi said, “I will be happy if I can be of any kind of assistance for you all. I want to get out in the field and get the message out there because I have been saved.” Before walking along the path adjacent to the MMU with a bag over his shoulder and a smile on his face he promised to send a message to others by leaving us with these words, “I want everyone to know first that whenever you feel any sign or symptoms of the disease don’t waste time, get to the center because that will help you more. Because I came here last Sunday with Ebola and now I leave free of Ebola, so praise God.”
The curtain peeled back and Robert appeared through the MMU’s Ebola survivor discharge exit where he stood in front of the Ebola survivor board just moments after the release of D’Geedawoi. After receiving a gift from his co-worker, Jacob, with MSF where he has worked for approximately 5 years as a Physician Assistant he looked up towards heaven and thanked God. Ready to return home to his wife, Famata, and their two children, daughther-11 years old and son-7 years old, he took time to thank the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps officers that provided him care. As a medical provider for the past 15 years, he understands the importance of saying thank you to those providing care to others. When LTJG D’Addeo approached Robert to introduce herself for the first time without wearing Personal Protective Equipment he said, “Thank you for following your heart’s desire because I am truly blessed that you came over here to assist and you helped save my life.” I thought I was just going to die here, but as I step forward I know God has great things for me.”