Isolation unit

A British nurse who caught ebola while helping in Sierra Leone is now working for the very hospital that saved him.

Will Pooley, 30, hit headlines last year when he contracted the virus while doing vital front work. An RAF airlift took him to the Royal Free Hospital in London.

During a week in a social isolation facility – the only permanent example of its kind in the UK – he was given the experimental drug ZMapp and went on to make a full recovery. He even returned to Sierra Leona for more lifesaving work.

One year on, things are very different. The ebola epidemic has virtually subsided. In fact, just 3 cases were confirmed last week.

And in the ultimate display of gratitude, Mr Pooley is working at the A&E department in London where he was first admitted. He describes an “emotional connection” to Royal Free, and praised the “compassionate and skilled” emergency medicine staff who worked on him – and now alongside him.

He adds: “I bump into nurses in the lift who, a year ago, were saving my life.

“It feels like a lifetime has passed since I was here, and I’m grateful to be alive.”

He recalled his admission to the isolation facility, which saw him crawling through a plastic tube to a bed in a plastic tent.

Dr Michael Jacobs, the infectious diseases consultant who worked on Mr Pooley, said: “It’s a huge moment for us when we take the patients out of the tent.

“It’s the first time we can look after them directly, shake their hand and hug them.”

Mr Pooley, who works regular nights in the busy A&E department, was named an MBE in the Queen’s birthday honours, in recognition of his brave contribution to the ebola fight.

Did you or any of your colleagues travel to help with the ebola crisis? What were your experiences? Tell us at marketing@athona.com.

Athona recruits talented nursing and medical professionals into their dream roles. Whether a nurse or a doctor, and whatever your speciality, we have the shifts and vacancies you want.

In addition, we can assist with revalidation, compliance and even reward you for introductions with our refer and earn scheme. For more information, call our friendly team on 01277 217777, email us (doctors@athona.com, nursing@athona.com) or view our medical and nursing vacancies online.