Ambulance nurse confronts death and desperation in the heart of the Ebola epidemic

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GWEN IFILL: Now: an intimate look at the front lines in the fight to contain Ebola in hard-hit Liberia. An estimated 4,200 people have contracted the virus since the outbreak began; 2,500 people have died.

In this report produced by The New York Times, video journalist Ben Solomon spends three weeks with an ambulance nurse overwhelmed by an onslaught of patients needing care.

GORDON KAMARA, Liberian Ambulance Nurse: My name is Gordon Kamara. I’m an ambulance nurse.

From March until now, I have been fighting these Ebola cases. Our job is to save the people.

In the morning, we start very fresh. Today is going to be a very busy day, getting — detecting cases from Westpoint. I have assessed cases in Johnsonville, another five cases in Benton. Three cases in Kaba. The calls just keep coming. The calls just keep coming.

There are patients all over. The first thing I do, I give them courage. I tell them, “Don’t be afraid.” They feel fear. I see it in their eyes. I’m tired of seeing people getting sick. I don’t rest, even when I go to bed. Sometimes, I see them in my dreams.

We have only three treatment centers in Monrovia. It is insufficient.

I feel hopeless.

Sometimes, when I sit down and think about it, I think, “Wow, that could be me.

Any little mistake you make, you’re going to be down with the virus.

Every morning, I pray. I pray that one day Ebola will go.

There is no space. The doctor, he can’t take the people because he’s supposed to admit 50 persons, and now he got 85 in there. He’s overloaded.

She’s very critical. She’s vomiting. She’s weak. If she doesn’t go in, she won’t live.

There is no hope here.

Ebola will last for long. In the next three to four months, the Ebola will be worse. I wish I could do more, but it’s not easy.

GWEN IFILL: The girl who we saw in that piece, who was 17 years old, died at home the next day.

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