NEWS

Azaria Marthyman, Ebola doctor, returns home to Victoria

07/29/2014 02:16 EDT | Updated 09/28/2014 05:59 EDT
A Victoria doctor who was part of a medical group that travelled to Liberia earlier this month to treat victims of Ebola has returned home as one of his U.S. colleagues fights for his life against the deadly virus.

Dr. Azaria Marthyman was part of a 14-member team sent by Christian relief agency Samaritan's Purse to provide clinical care as a renewed outbreak of the disease ravages west Africa.

On Saturday, the charity issued a news release saying that one of Marthyman's colleagues, Dr. Kent Bradley of the U.S., had tested positive for the virus and was being treated in isolation in Liberia.

Marthyman is reported to have placed himself in voluntary quarantine on his return.

"Azaria is symptom-free right now and there is no chance of being contagious with Ebola if you are not exhibiting symptoms," spokesperson for Samaritans' Purse,  Melissa Strickland, told CTV Vancouver Island.

Dr. Martyman declined a CBC request for an interview by email.

"I regret to inform you that I am declining all requests for media interviews," the email reads.  "The situation in Liberia is changing rapidly, and I don't have the most up-to-date information. Therefore, to avoid giving out any information that might not be accurate, I am referring all interview requests to our international headquarters, because staff there are closest to the situation in Liberia."

Blog posts tell of his work

Marthyman posted many updates on the Samaritan's Purse blog while he was in Liberia. On July 24, he posted that he was headed home.

"I am doing very well physically and emotionally, having worked every day since my arrival in Liberia, and today having to say goodbye to so many people," the post says.

Mostly, though, Marthyman used his blog post to tell the story of a young boy named William, the doctor's first Ebola patient in Liberia, who needed to find a home.

"William now needs a home to go to," Dr. Marthyman writes. "He does not have any family to care for him and will be under the ministry’s care. I pray that he will have a loving home to go to. Meeting William today seems to bring some closure to my stay here in Liberia as I prepare myself to come home to my wife and family."

At least two other British Columbians have travelled to Liberia this month with Samaritan's Purse to fight Ebola. They include a nurse from Vancouver and a medical technician from Squamish.

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