Statement by Dr. Bruce Ribner

Woodruff Health Sciences Center | Aug. 21, 2014

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Ebola

Transcript of statement by Dr. Bruce Ribner, Emory University, given at news conference held Aug. 21, 2014. Ribner is the director of the Infectious Disease Unit at Emory University Hospital, Atlanta, GA.


Good morning and thank you for coming here today.

I am Bruce Ribner, medical director of the Infectious Disease Unit at Emory University Hospital. I lead the team of doctors, nurses, laboratory technologists, chaplains and many others who have cared for Dr. Brantly and Mrs. Writebol, two patients treated at Emory University Hospital for Ebola virus disease.

Today, I am pleased to announce that Dr. Brantly is being discharged from the hospital.

After a rigorous course of treatment and thorough testing, we have determined, in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and state health departments, that Dr. Brantly has recovered from the Ebola virus infection, and that he can return to his family, to his community, and to his life without public health concerns.

The second patient, Mrs. Writebol, was discharged this past Tuesday, August 19th.  The medical staff here at Emory is confident that the discharge from the hospital of both of these patients poses no public health threat. The hospital is respecting Mrs. Writebol’s wishes for privacy at that time, so we will not be making any further comments about her clinical course.

Speaking on behalf of everyone at Emory, we are tremendously pleased with Dr. Brantly's and Mrs. Writebol’s recovery, and we are profoundly grateful for the opportunity to apply our training, our care and our experience to meeting their needs. All of us who have worked with them have been impressed by their courage and determination. Their hope and faith have been an inspiration to all of us.

In addition, both of the patients’ families provided tremendous support throughout this treatment process. Their dedication and devotion have strengthened us as well as the patients.

Limited knowledge of the Ebola virus, especially in our country, has created understandable anxiety and fear for some persons.  We understand that there are a lot of questions and concerns regarding Ebola virus and the infection that it causes.  However, we cannot let our fears dictate our actions.  We must all care.  

As grateful as we are today, our work is far from over.   We are very mindful of all of those in West Africa who are still fighting for their lives against this threat and those who are caring for them putting their own lives in danger. It was the right decision to bring these patients back to Emory for treatment. What we learned in caring for them will help advance the world's understanding of how to treat Ebola virus infections, and hopefully to improve survival in parts of the world where patients with this infection are treated.

At Emory, our mission is to heal and to advance knowledge. The team of professionals with me here today has trained for years to treat and contain the most dangerous infectious diseases in the world. We are grateful for the successful outcome in this case, but we are never going to be taking success for granted.

Three other critically important partners who have helped us throughout this episode deserve recognition today: our neighbors the Centers for Disease Control, the Food and Drug Administration, and the state epidemiologists of Georgia and North Carolina.

I will take your questions, as Mr. Dollard said, but before doing so, Dr. Brantly has requested to make a brief statement.

And as Mr. Dollard said, Dr. Brantly will not be taking questions, so I ask that you respect his wishes and save your questions for me and for other members of our healthcare team. Thank you.