How I Survived Ebolavirus by Dr. Ada Igonoh

How I Survived Ebolavirus by Dr. Ada Igonoh

Tuesday, September 16, 2014 11:16 pm


When Liberian American, Patrick Sawyer brought Ebola to Nigeria from Liberia, Dr Ada Igonoh was the first to attend to him at First Consultants Hospital in Obalende, Lagos before she called her superior, Dr Stella Adadevoh. While Adadevoh died, Igonoh survived. Below is her narrative.

“On the night of Sunday July 20, 2014, Patrick Sawyer was wheeled into the Emergency Room at First Consultants Medical Centre, Obalende, Lagos, with complaints of fever and body weakness. The male doctor on call admitted him as a case of malaria and took a full history.

Knowing that Mr. Sawyer had recently arrived from Liberia, the doctor asked if he had been in contact with an Ebola patient in the last couple of weeks, and Mr. Sawyer denied any such contact.

He also denied attending any funeral ceremony recently. Blood samples were taken for full blood count, malaria parasites, liver function test and other baseline investigations. He was admitted into a private room and started on antimalarial drugs and analgesics. That night, the full blood count result came back as normal and not indicative of infection.

The following day however, his condition worsened. He barely ate any of his meals. His liver function test result showed his liver enzymes were markedly elevated. We then took samples for HIV and hepatitis screening.

Dr. Ada Igonoh: a miraculous story of survival

Dr. Ada Igonoh: a miraculous story of survival

At about 5.00pm, he requested to see a doctor. I was the doctor on call that night so I went in to see him. He was lying in bed with his intravenous (I.V.) fluid bag removed from its metal stand and placed beside him. He complained that he had stooled about five times that evening and that he wanted to use the bathroom again. I picked up the I.V. bag from his bed and hung it back on the stand. I told him I would inform a nurse to come and disconnect the I.V. so he could conveniently go to the bathroom. I walked out of his room and went straight to the nurses’ station where I told the nurse on duty to disconnect his I.V. I then informed my Consultant, Dr. Ameyo Adadevoh about the patient’s condition and she asked that he be placed on some medications.

The following day, the results for HIV and hepatitis screening came out negative. As we were preparing for the early morning ward rounds, I was approached by an ECOWAS official who informed me that Patrick Sawyer had to catch an 11 o’clock flight to Calabar for a retreat that morning. He wanted to know if it would be possible. I told him it wasn’t, as he was acutely ill. Dr. Adadevoh also told him the patient could certainly not leave the hospital in his condition. She then instructed me to write very boldly on his chart that on no account should Patrick Sawyer be allowed out of the hospital premises without the permission of Dr. Ohiaeri, our Chief Medical Consultant. All nurses and doctors were duly informed.

During our early morning ward round with Dr. Adadevoh, we concluded that this was not malaria and that the patient needed to be screened for Ebola Viral Disease. She immediately started calling laboratories to find out where the test could be carried out.

She was eventually referred to Professor Omilabu of the LUTH Virology Reference Lab in Idi-Araba whom she called immediately. Prof. Omilabu told her to send blood and urine samples to LUTH straight away. She tried to reach the Lagos State Commissioner for Health but was unable to contact him at the time. She also put calls across to officials of the Federal Ministry of Health and National Centre for Disease Control.

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19 Comments

  • dimosso says:

    Ooh! That was great!! Thanks God, praise the Lord.

  • goca vic says:

    Jesus is indeed the final answer to all issues and problems.

  • felixoti says:

    Now is the time to take Dr. David’s advise and go into infectious disease specialization

  • abankula says:

    Publishers, filmmakers have a non-fiction thriller in their hands. Never knew a medical doctor could demonstrate such a marvellous writing skill, penning an unputdownable account of a near death experience. Ada, you are simply great. And congrats that you shamed Ebola to tell your story.

  • Truly says:

    The Doctors treat but God heals. By his stripes you ‘WERE’ healed Ada. God bless and keep you. Amen.

  • Emmanuel Harrison says:

    Praise God. The power of death is broken. This is a clear testimony that this deadly seemingly in curable disease can be conquered. Hallelujah. I am particularly grateful to God for Nigeria. Inspite of all the happenings, I am greatly proud to be a Nigerian! Thank God for deliverance and recovery. I pray that this affliction or similar one will not come to Nigeria again.

  • M.Y says:

    Your faith in God and work (i.e. drinking the ORS even when you felt like not) saved you, you are alive for a testimony……who say there is no God? i thank God for your life

  • ajisegiri says:

    Congratulations ! You sailed through.
    God is of a truth faithful. Faith works, works wonders. I commend your brave attitude and your faith that you put to work via meditation and research. Not loosing hope when passing through the valley of the shadow of death. God bless all those that stood by you too.
    To God alone be all the glory.

  • Lolade Saliu says:

    hmmm, wat a story….at some point my eyes got all misty, am so touched by your bravery. i have learnt so much. But one thing i understand is that ORT or not ORT your getting better and overcoming this disease is nobody’s doing other than God. he is a great healer… you said so yourself u had just minimal contact, the case of a boy who was in a room with an ebola patient and never contacted d disease…its amazing but in all i thank God for you. congrats

  • ksquare says:

    i appreciate your write-up. one, you never attributed your survival to act of magic as claimed by many miracle preachers. God made you follow the rule of consuming the ort as prescribed by the medical experts and this allowed time for the natural immunity re-growth. Miracle do exist but awareness and knowledge is also needed. maybe that’s why God didn’t create man a robot.

  • Josie says:

    Dr Ada, your faith healed. We thank God for you giving you a new life. In your situation, you were not selfish in your thoughts, you still were concerned about your family at home, ensuring that no one went into your room. You did not give up hope, you prayed, researched, encouraged others and emerged victorious. I am so proud of all the staff of 1st Consultant medical centre, God delivered Nigerians from this deadly virus through your staff. May the good Lord that delivered you all from this deadly virus continue to guide, guard and protect you all. I am so proud of the medical team at the hospital , it was a great loss – the death of Dr Adadevoh, Nurse Justina and Mrs Okoh. May they rest in perfect peace Amen.

  • Tony says:

    This is quite a story. Ada Igonoh you are my hero. I am so sorry about your friends and colleagues this terrible horrible incident took. I am so ashamed of Patrick Sawyer for his
    selfish recklessness that endangered so many.

    Ada your testimony revives my faith in humanity. Your selfless consideration in the midst of
    despair and imminent dissolution, how did you even gather your thoughts to warn your mother to barricade folks from entering your room at that point as you did…facing your mortality but thinking of others.

    Mankind is better because of people like you. How you and your friends at First Consultants Medical Centre are not accorded world recognition for how you guys navigated
    through this incident leaves one wondering.

    We could easily be talking about tens and hundreds of thousands in a population like Lagos has it not been for you and your friends. This is why I would hope that Churchill’s
    quote that never in the history of man has so much been owed by so many to so
    few is really proper here.

    I wish our path would cross so that I could get the privilage to personally say to you how grateful I am of people like you. I am faintly religious but my wish and thoughts for you is for whatever God and goodness there is, would continue to protect, guard and guide you throughout your days, for your children and your children’s children.

  • DR. CLAUD NKWENTI says:

    CONGRATULATIONS DR. ADA IGONOH. THANK GOD FOR YOU. GOD IS THERE, NO MATTER WHAT SOME MAY SAY. HE ALONE IS GOD. AND THANK GOD THAT HE IS GOD. THIS IS ACTIVE FAITH, AND A GREAT INSPIRATION. IT IS A CALL FOR US ALL TO REALISE THAT THOUGH THIS IS A SHINY EXAMPLE IN THE HEALTH FIELD, FOR YOU DOC TO HAVE SURVIVED THE WORST DISEASE IN THE HISTORY OF HUMANKIND, GOD WILL ALSO DO IT FOR US ALL WHATEVER THE SITUATION OR CIRCUMSTANCE. WHATEVER WE ARE STRUGGLING WITH NOW, BE IT THE EBOLA AS THE WORLD IS FACED WITH, BE IT INJUSTICE, HATRED, EXPLOITATION BY THE POWERFUL, SICKNESS, OR EVEN THIS SCOURGE OF NEOCOLONIALISM THAT WE NOW EXPERIENCE IN AFRICA, GOD, IN SEEING OUR EARNEST HEART’S DESIRE AND STRUGGLES TO OVERCOME AND SURVIVE THOSE CIRCUMSTANCES, AS DR. IGONOH DID WILL SURELY GIVE US VICTORY AND IT WILL BE A SWEET VICTORIOUS SONG AS DOC IGONOH’S. THANKS BE TO GOD. MAY HE CONTINUE TO RAISE TRUE SERVANTS FOR HIM AND HUMANITY.

  • mercy says:

    Glory be to God almighty. what a good news.

  • Aseye says:

    Wow indeed God has really been with you. You did walk through the valley of the shadow of death, and He sustained you, for a purpose. glorify god with your life, and keep sharing your testimony. Condolences to the family of those who passed, especially the poor pregnant nurse Justina on her first day at work, and the gallant Dr. Adadevoh.

  • Eric Mabo says:

    Very inspiring. Thank You. Please write a book.

  • Yerima Wilson Musa says:

    God works in several ways. i am happy you survived and gave this testimony. may God Almighty the author and finisher of our faith continue to protect and guide you in the course of your job. praise God.

  • agadagidi says:

    God is great. Dr Ada,your faith healed you. You are indeed a doctor in all ramifications. The elegance of your prose; the simplicity of word flow all attest to your being an all rounder. Please publish this testimony as a little pamphlet for now.Expand it to a book at some later time when you are fully out of the stress and emotions of the immediate past. God bless and protect you my dear

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