Hawaii doctor returns from Sierra Leone

A Hawaii doctor has returned from his medical mission to Sierra Leone to help with the ebola outbreak.

Dr. Richard Brostrom came home right before Christmas, and says the first thing he did after spending time with his family, was catch up on his sleep.

He says his work days in the capital city of Freetown were long — from about 8 a.m. – 11 p.m. for 29 days straight.

Brostrom says his experience was “pretty amazing, desperate, that country is really suffering.”

In addition to heading the State Health Department’s Tuberculosis Branch, Brostrom is also a Medical Officer for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“I think the thing is was surprised with the most was that when a problem arose while we were there, the response was rapid, effective, and intense. So we are really giving it our best effort to put out this fire in West Africa,” Brostrom said.

Sierra Leone has had the most ebola cases among the three West African countries with widespread transmission.

“In general we are instructed to stay out of the hot zones. We did not provide direct patient care,” Brostrom said.

Rather, he helped to train people who work in the hospitals and wards.

Ebola is mainly spread through direct contact with infected blood or body fluids, or with objects like needles that have been contaminated with the virus.

KHON2 asked: “So it’s safe to say you do not have ebola?”
“It’s safe to say yes. The CDC has very strict rules about what we’re allowed to do and what we’re not allowed to do,” Brostrom said. “The more time you spend there the less frightened you become and more determined to help that sort of transition happens.”

In fact, Brostrom says he’s in early talks with the CDC to possibly go back as part of the vaccine team.

Courtesy of KHON2

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