More from the front of the Ebola fight in Africa

January 06, 2015

Penn doctor going back for second tour fighting Ebola in Africa

Henwood in the protective gear that prevented her use of a stethoscope, with the ultrasound machine she used to check patients instead.

Henwood in the protective gear that prevented her use of a stethoscope, with the ultrasound machine she used to check patients instead.

After spending five weeks working in an Ebola treatment unit, Dr Trish Henwood is going back for a second tour fighting Ebola in Africa.

She feels the work is vitally important, that great progress is being made, that the virus can be stopped, and that America must continue its support in fighting the deadly virus and epidemic.

She spent five weeks in Bong County, a remote area in Northern Liberia, in an Ebola treatment unit run by the International Medical Corps. She came home after Thanksgiving.

When she returns for another five weeks, she thinks she will be also going to Sierra Leone, where the epidemic is now spreading the fastest.

One of her goals is to create a rapid response team.

Henwood's specialty has been using ultrasound machines in remote areas where there are no other diagnostic tools. She found the ultrasound very useful in the Ebola treatment units.

Because doctors and nurses wear protective suits and their ears are covered, they can't even use stethoscopes.

Henwood was able to use the ultrasound to see fluid in the abdomen and bowel distension. She developed a "very preliminary theory" that some patients with Ebola, which is a virus and cannot be treated with antibiotics, also developed secondary infections in their gastrointestinal tracts, "and I think some of them were actually dying from that."

When she saw distended bowels, she immediately began IV antibiotics, "and some of them, obviously, still died. It's very hard to turn them around when you have a bacterial infection in their blood. But some of them did survive. I'm going back to investigate that more."

Read full article here: http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20150102_Penn_doctor_going_back_for_second_tour_fighting_Ebola_in_Africa.html

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