Famed Liberian Ebola nurse dies from childbirth after health workers refuse treatment

Salome Karwah on the cover of TIME (Twitter)

Salome Karwah, a Liberian nursing assistant whose efforts combatting the 2014 West African Ebola outbreak led her to be named a Person of the Year for TIME Magazine, died on February 21 from complications in childbirth after reportedly being refused treatment by health workers.

Karwah, a woman who had been known to claim Ebola survivors have “super powers” because of the permanent immunity to Ebola conferred upon those who survived it, began her career fighting the disease at the same Médecins Sans Frontières Ebola treatment unit outside Monrovia where she had once been a patient herself. After the death of her father, a local doctor who succumbed to Ebola, she had planned to reopen her family’s medical clinic as a “super-clinic” where victims of the disease could receive treatment from those best equipped to give it — Ebola survivors who could touch their patients without fear of becoming infected themselves.

“I can do things that other people can’t,” Karwah said at the time. “If an Ebola patient is in his house, and his immediate relative cannot go to him, I can go to him. I can take [care of] him.”

After the end of the outbreak in Liberia, Karwah married her fiancé, gave birth to a third child and then became pregnant again. On February 17, she gave birth boy, Solomon, by cesarian section. Karwah was discharged three days later, only to collapse into convulsions within hours of her arrival home. After being rushed back to the hospital, medical staff reportedly refused to touch Karwah — apparently out of fear that they could catch the Ebola she had survived years prior. Karwah died the next day.

“They said she was an Ebola survivor,” said Karwah’s sister, Josephine Manley. “They didn’t want contact with her fluids. They all gave her distance. No one would give her an injection.”

Read the full story at TIME Magazine.


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