The widow of late Patrick Sawyer, the Liberian who brought Ebola into Nigeria, has defended her husband’s decision to travel to travel to Nigeria when he knew he had contracted the deadly Ebola virus. She said he was in a desperate search of a better health-care system than what is obtainable in Liberia.
Mrs. Sawyer who is a radio host shared her thoughts on her Facebook page to TMZ Liberia Magazine. She said her husband was careful to avoid contact with other passengers and she took a swipe at Liberia’s president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for failing to fix the healthcare system in Liberia, but criticizing her husband for seeking help elsewhere.
“I’ve read other reports in other papers (not the New York Times) about Patrick’s “recklessness.” I get where they’re coming from, and they certainly have the right to feel the way they do. However, as Patrick’s widow, I would like to shed some light on this from another perspective. One that only I, his wife, would know,” she wrote.
“I knew Patrick better than anybody else (including himself). He had told me many times in the past how much he didn’t trust the Liberian healthcare system. He would tell me about how a person would get checked in for one thing, and get misdiagnosed and get the wrong treatment as a result. On top of that, Patrick was a clean freak, and told me how filthy a lot of the hospitals were.
“He didn’t tell me this, but I know in my heart of hearts that Patrick was determined to get to Nigeria by all means because he felt that Nigeria would be a place of refuge. He has expressed to me many times in the past that he felt passionately about helping to be a part of strengthening Liberia’s healthcare system, but he knew it wasn’t there yet, and he wouldn’t want to take a chance with his life because a lot of people depended on him… Patrick had a passion for life, and he wouldn’t have wanted his to end. So, I bet anything that he was thinking, if I could only get to Nigeria, a way more developed country than Liberia, I would be able to get some help. How ironic.
“It has been reported that Patrick avoided physical contact with everyone he came across during his trip from Liberia to Nigeria. When he got to Nigeria, he turned himself in letting them know that he had just flown in from Liberia.
“Patrick went to Nigeria for help so that he can get properly diagnosed, and not misdiagnosed in Liberia. And if it came back that he did have Ebola, he trusted the Nigerian healthcare system a lot more than he trusted the Liberian’s. His action, as off as it was, was a desperate plea for help. Patrick didn’t want to die, and he thought his life would be saved in Nigeria.
“I write today, not simply because of Patrick, but because of the broken healthcare system in the Liberia, and the government’s inability under President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (and other past Presidents) to fix it. Good doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers aren’t given the support they need to save lives.
“President Sirleaf went on CNN News throwing stones at Patrick, a man who can no longer defend himself, a man who worked tirelessly for Liberia. She should be ashamed of herself. I use to admire this woman, and was excited and proud of her accomplishment as the first woman President in the entire continent of Africa. She will always own that. We will always own that. It can’t be taken away from her. It’s something to be proud of. But this woman has failed her country,” she wrote.
Patrick Sawyer is the index patient for Ebola in Nigeria and until he arrived Nigeria, July 20, 2014, there was no reported case of Ebola in the country. When Sawyer arrived Nigeria, he was terribly ill and was rushed to the First Consultant Hospital Obalende, Lagos, where he died on July 24. Since then, two people – a nurse at the hospital and the ECOWAS protocol officer who received him at the airport contracted the disease and have died.
The late Sawyer has come under heavy criticism from the Nigerian and Liberians governments and Nigerians have taken to social media to call him a ”biological terrorist”.
President Goodluck Jonathan has described Mr Sawyer’s decision to travel to Nigeria as pure “madness” and “craziness.”
“Sawyer that brought this Ebola to Nigeria; his sister died of Ebola. And he started acting somehow, his country asked him not to leave the country, let them observe him, but the crazy man decided to leave and found his way here,” Jonathan said.
Also, Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has said that Mr Sawyer was “indiscipline and disrespectful” for failing to heed medical advise not to travel.
President Jonathan has declared a national emergency on the disease.