Dr. Kent Brantly, the first American to return to the United States to be treated for Ebola, visited Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine on April 8 to speak to 200 medical and nursing students about the lessons learned in his fight against Ebola.
While serving in Liberia in 2014, Dr. Brantly was fighting on the front lines of the battle against the deadliest Ebola outbreak to ever occur. On July 26, 2014, Dr. Brantly was diagnosed with Ebola. He became the first person in to world to receive the experimental drug ZMapp, and also the first person with Ebola to be treated in the United States when he was evacuated to Emory University Hospital.
Dr. Brantly is now taking a respite in his mission work by sharing his message to health care professionals. His message was not solely focused on Ebola, though that was a crucial formative event in his life and medical career. He also spoke with wisdom that will help the students in their future careers. Dr. Brantly’s message was about students finding their purpose for being doctors and nurses and following that conviction.
His prospective was gained while on the brink of death, saying, “I never had to ask why, why is this happening to me? I knew from the moment that I got to Liberia and even lost my first patient that I was fulfilling my calling in life. Without that mission, the bad times could have stopped me on my first day.”
His recommendation for the medical students: Go back to your personal statement that you wrote for your admission into medical school, find out why you said you want to be a doctor, and hold on to it. The long hours of studying, stress, and of course the loss of patients can be overwhelming for most doctors. That is why students need to be actively reinforcing their mission in life.
“As students we encounter burnt out doctors that have lost sight of why they are in medicine. It was a gratifying experience to hear another perspective from a person who has literally risked his life in service to others” said first-year medical student Caitlin Kessler.