Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Ebola Calls Northwest Volunteers To Action, Medical Centers To Prepare

Courtesy of Marc Bouma
Marc Bouma, an E.R. nurse at Seattle's Swedish Hospital, is taking a leave of absence to fight Ebola in Liberia.

Northwest medical professionals are getting ready for Ebola. Some are volunteering to fly out and help patients in west Africa. Others are practicing and equipping their hospitals to receive a case if needed.

Marc Bouma, an E.R. nurse at Seattle's Swedish Hospital, is taking a leave of absence for Ebola. This Sunday, he’s flying to a remote county in southeast Liberia.

Bouma says many of his family and friends were upset he’d miss Thanksgiving — and likely Christmas — for a hazardous situation.

“One of my favorite reactions: I was actually at work. I was telling some people at work that I was going in a couple weeks, and one of the doctor was standing next to me and actually took a step back. I was like, ‘Don’t worry doctor, I haven’t got Ebola yet,’” Bouma said. 

Bouma will be part of a team with a nonprofit called Partners in Health. He and others will try to treat and prevent the spread of Ebola there until at least mid-December.

In Portland, a Christian nonprofit called Medical Teams International has deployed 15 staff members to Liberia to train community health workers there. And Oregon Health and Science University is conducting training this week with tricky protective outfits and a dummy that simulates Ebola symptoms. 

Anna King calls Richland, Washington home and loves unearthing great stories about people in the Northwest. She reports for the Northwest News Network from a studio at Washington State University, Tri-Cities. She covers the Mid-Columbia region, from nuclear reactors to Mexican rodeos.