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  1. ITV Report

Doctor returns to wards after Ebola isolation

Nathalie MacDermott went to Africa to help treat Ebola patients and was in isolation for three weeks as a precaution after she returned. Photo: Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board

A Swansea doctor who took leave to travel to treat Ebola patients in Africa, is back on the wards after three weeks in isolation.

Specialist registrar Nathalie MacDermott flew to Liberia last month to help at a centre which quarantined and cared for Ebola patients. The 32 year old, who works in Singleton Hospital's neonatal unit, treated between 50 and 100 patients during her time there, but only three survived.

She says media reports of the outbreak were not 'overblown' and she felt the situation was 'spiralling out of control' when she arrived.

It felt like we were sitting on a time bomb which was slowly exploding under us and there was nothing we could do.

It's hard for a doctor to know that they won't be able to save the vast majority of their patients, but I already knew that when I went to Liberia. I knew that many local health care workers were frightened of their patients and the care they gave them was inconsistent.

There can be nothing worse than to die alone, in pain and frightened, so i went there to help prevent some of this suffering - to care for them, to manage their pain, to pray with them and comfort them.

– Dr Nathalie MacDermott

During her time at the centre, two fellow volunteers contracted Ebola. Nathalie did not develop any symptoms, but when she returned home to Wales, she kept herself isolated in her Cardiff flat for three-weeks on the advice of Public Health Wales.

When we heard that Kent and Nancy had contracted Ebola, it was a scary time. But I didn't have a lot of time to worry about it, as we were so busy. Kent had isolated himself as soon as he had a fever, and I helped to look after him, along with the rest of the team, before he was flown back to the US...

The most worrying thing was how he and Nancy had become infected. We all had personal protective equipment and very tight protocols which had not been broken.

– Dr Nathalie MacDermott

Since being given the all clear, Nathalie has returned to the wards at Singleton Hospital and says she wouldn't hesitate to go back to Africa.