Despite attempts to save her life using an experimental drug, Pauline Cafferkey, a British nurse diagnosed with Ebola, is now in critical condition, according to a spokesperson of the hospital where she is being treated.
Royal Free Hospital told the BBC it was “sorry to announce that the condition of Pauline Cafferkey has gradually deteriorated over the past two days”.
A Scottish nurse battling Ebola in a London hospital is being given both an experimental drug and convalescent plasma from a survivor to help fight the deadly disease, a doctor treating her said Wednesday.
Pauline Cafferkey, an associate public health nurse, contracted the virus after traveling to Sierra Leone as a Save the Children volunteer in November.
Dr. Michael Jacobs — a consultant in infectious diseases at London's Royal Free Hospital, where Cafferkey is being treated — did not name the experimental anti-viral drug being used to treat Cafferkey.
Jacobs said doctors have been able to speak with Cafferkey in "great detail" about her treatment because she is a fellow medical professional.
“She is very well aware that this is an experimental treatment, it’s not proven to work,” he said.
She is also being treated with blood plasmas from people who have survived the virus.
Jacobs said Cafferkey is doing as well as doctors could hope for, adding she is in a very "early stage" of the illness.
“She is sitting up and talking, she is able to read, she’s been eating a bit, drinking, and she’s been in communication with her family which has been really nice,” Jacobs said.
He added that the next few days would be very crucial as the doctors continue to monitor Cafferkey.
“It's a very critical time ahead and a very long time ahead as well,” he said.
Cafferkey had kept a diary for The Scotsman about her experiences in Africa before she became ill.
According to the newspaper, Cafferkey has been a nurse for 16 years and was inspired to travel to the country after seeing footage of the famine in Ethiopia in the 1980s.
In her diary, Cafferkey detailed the harsh reality of the Ebola epidemic. In one entry, she wrote about meeting a young boy whose entire family was killed by the disease.
"The sad thing is that this is a regular occurrence, and we see and hear of whole families being wiped out by this awful disease," she wrote.
Stephanie McNeal is a social news editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
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