Hospitals in Africa are almost always teeming with people. In addition to patients waiting for care, friends and relatives are usually gathered on the hospital grounds.
But in the Liberian capital Monrovia, Ebola has silenced St. Joseph’s Catholic Hospital. It is completely shut.
Samuel Bowman, 72, is the medical director of the facility. When we met today outside his living quarters at the back of the hospital compound, Bowman had just heard on the radio that Father Miguel Pajares, a Spanish priest who worked at St. Joseph’s and contracted Ebola, had died in a Madrid hospital, where he’d been evacuated.
Bowman says St. Joseph’s wasn’t even supposed to treat Ebola patients, but some ended up on its wards. “In the process, our hospital director became infected by one of the patients,” Bowman says. “He has subsequently died. And those who had direct contact with him. They got infected.”
Bowman counts off on his fingers those others infected: “A brother, two sisters, two of our staff nurses, the social worker. And a laboratory technician.”