Suffolk Ebola victim Will Pooley now working for London hospital which saved his life
- Credit: PA
Suffolk Ebola survivor Will Pooley is repaying his debt of gratitude by working for the London hospital that saved his life.
A year after being airlifted back to the UK from Sierra Leone the 30-year-old is now a nurse at the Royal Free Hospital in Camden.
Mr Pooley, 30, of Eyke, near Woodbridge, contracted the deadly Ebola virus six weeks after he began working with patients in west Africa.
He was brought back for emergency treatment in August last year.
Speaking to the BBC, Mr Pooley said he was glad to be busy and felt an emotional connection with the hospital that saved his life.
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When he was flown back to the UK after contracting Ebola he was treated in a tented bed for a week.
It was the same unit where two British nurses – Pauline Cafferkey, from Glasgow, and Army reservist Cpl Anna Cross, from Cambridge – were also treated.
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Mr Pooley said: “It feels like a lifetime has passed since I was in here. So much has happened.
“It takes me back into that mode of just feeling grateful to be alive.”
After leaving the Royal Free Hospital and making a full recovery, Mr Pooley went back to Sierra Leone in October.
He helped other patients in west Africa who were hit by the epidemic.
It rapidly became the deadliest outbreak of the disease since its discovery in 1976.
Mr Pooley returned to the UK in May.
He said: “I have just been really busy.
“That’s probably the most important thing, not allowing things to play on my mind too much.”
Mr Pooley believes he contracted the lethal illness when changing a baby’s nappy.
The Ebola outbreak in west Africa is said to have claimed at least 11,000 lives, including many nurses, doctors and others who helped the stricken and did so to help contain the disease and stop it from becoming a worldwide epidemic.
Mr Pooley said: “Their story has been lost in some ways. They need to be remembered. Even in this country they protected us from the disease, so perhaps we should remember them and honour them.”
Mr Pooley was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
His devotion to others, which nearly led to him losing his life, also saw him given a Special Recognition award in the EADT and Ipswich Star’s Stars of Suffolk 2014.