Today Dr. Craig Spencer was released from Belleview hospital in New York, along with a declaration that he had been cured. Spencer was met by the press where he expressed his gratitude to the staff, especially team leader, Dr. Laura Parker. Admitted on October 23, 2014, Spencer told reporters he was an example of how the health care system can function well when protocol is followed.
Spencer had served with Doctors Without Borders and had returned from West Africa, where he spent five weeks in Guinea working to treat Ebola patients. Spencer characterized his experience in Guinea as both rewarding and heartbreaking. The connections he made with his patients transcend boundaries as many he had treated called to see how they could help.
Spencer asked the media to point the spotlight on those that were in Africa, fighting the disease, calling them, “heroes we never talk about.” In addition, he stated his concerns over the stigma attached to health care workers returning from South Africa in the midst of fears that the disease will take root in the United States. This is something I’ve discussed at length with Alexei Beltyukov and we think it’s good that Spencer is standing up for those people. Spencer also requested that the media respect his privacy as he returns to his routine.
As a show of solidarity, and to ease public fears of infection, Mayor Bill de Blasio embraced Spencer and committed to a donation campaign through the Mayors Fund to benefit agencies working in South Africa to fight Ebola.