Lest We Forget: A Doctor's Experience with Life and Death During the Ebola Outbreak

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In 2014 after fighting through yards of bureaucratic red tape, leaving her family, and putting her own health at risk in order to help suffering strangers, Kwan Kew Lai finally arrived in Africa to volunteer as an infectious disease specialist in the heart of the largest Ebola outbreak in history. What she found was not only blistering heat, inhospitable working conditions, and deadly, unrelenting illness, but hope, resilience, and incredible courage.

Lest We Forget chronicles the harrowing and inspiring time spent serving on the front lines of the ongoing Ebola outbreak—the complicated Personal Protective Equipment, the chlorine-scented air, the tropical heat, and the heartbreaking difficulties of treating patients she could not touch. Dr. Lai interweaves original diary entries to create a gripping narrative about life, death, and human relationships that will leave no reader unmoved.

Lest We Forget exposes the raw brutality of Ebola, as well as the chaotic nature of the undersupplied and understaffed health infrastructure in the developing world. At once a memoir of triumphs and failures and a memorial, this book will ensure that the victims of Ebola and the fighters who sought to heal them will not be forgotten.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Simon and Schuster
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Published on
Oct 9, 2018
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Pages
240
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ISBN
9781632280633
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Medical (incl. Patients)
Medical / Epidemiology
Social Science / Disasters & Disaster Relief
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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First discovered in 1976, and long regarded as an easily manageable virus affecting isolated rural communities, Ebola rocketed to world prominence in 2014 as a deadly epidemic swept through Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia in West Africa. Thousands of people died as the extraordinarily contagious disease spread rapidly from villages to urban centres. Initial quarantine responses proved often too little and too late, and the medical infrastructure of the affected countries struggled to cope. By August 2014, several months after the start of the outbreak, the WHO declared the epidemic a public health emergency and international aid teams and volunteers began to pour in. But halting the epidemic proved to be hugely challenging, not only in terms of the practicalities of dealing with the sheer numbers of patients carrying the highly infectious virus, but in dealing with social and cultural barriers. The author, Dorothy Crawford, visited Sierra Leone while the epidemic was ongoing and met with those on the frontline in the fight against the virus. In Ebola Crawford combines personal accounts from these brave medical workers with the latest scientific reports to tell the story of the epidemic as it unfolded, and how it has changed our understanding of the virus. She looks at its origin and spread, the international response, and its devastating legacy to the health of those living in the three worst affected countries. She describes the efforts to prevent international spread, the treatment options for Ebola, including the drug and vaccine trials that eventually got underway in 2015, and the sensitive issue of running trials of experimental therapies during a lethal epidemic. Our understanding of the Ebola virus continues to develop as long-term health problems and complications following recovery from the disease are being identified. Epidemics of Ebola or other dangerous microbes will continue to threaten the world regularly. Already concerns have been raised by the possible impact of the Zika virus. What lessons have been learnt from Ebola? How, asks Crawford, might we prevent a repeat of the awful suffering seen in 2014-16?
Interdisciplinary perspectives on the science, politics, and ethics of the 2013–2015 Ebola virus disease outbreak.

The 2013–2015 outbreak of the Ebola virus disease (EVD) was a public health disaster: 28,575 infections and 11,313 deaths (as of October 2015), devastating the countries of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone; a slow and mismanaged international response; and sensationalistic media coverage, seized upon by politicians to justify wrongheaded policy. And yet there were also promising developments that may improve future responses to infectious disease epidemics: the UN Security Council's first involvement in a public health event; a series of promising clinical treatments and vaccines for EVD; and recognition of the need for a global public health system to deal with epidemics that cross national borders. This volume offers a range of perspectives on these and other lessons learned, with essays on the science, politics, and ethics of the Ebola outbreak.

The contributors discuss topics including the virology and management of EVD in both rich and poor nations; the spread of the disease (with an essay by a leader of Médecins Sans Frontières); racist perceptions of West Africa; mainstream and social media responses to Ebola; and the ethical issue of whether to run clinical trials of experimental treatments during an outbreak.

Contributors
Christian L. Althaus, Daniel G. Bausch, Adia Benton, Michael J. Connor, Jr., Kim Yi Dionne, Nicholas G. Evans, Morenike Oluwatoyin Folayan, Stephen Goldstein, Bridget Haire, Patricia C. Henwood, Kelly Hills, Cyril Ibe, Marjorie Kruvand, Lisa M. Lee, Maimuna S. Majumder, Alexandra L. Phelan, Annette Rid, Cristine Russell, Lara Schwarz, Laura Seay, Michael Selgelid, Tara C. Smith, Armand Sprecher

Selected as CHOICE magazine's Outstanding Academic Title, January 2017.The book is a narrative of the unfolding of the Ebola virus disease outbreak from a scientific view point. The author provides an analysis of the scientific basis of public health policies that have influenced the public's, and the medical community's, abilities to understand the virus and the disease. This is done in the context of providing insights into the biology of the virus, and exploring open questions, including its likely modes of transmission. The author has included citations from the scientific literature and the press, as well as quotes from expert interviews. The book will help sort out the fact from fiction, given the confusion that arose after the virus arrived in the US. The author used his objective research skills and knowledge of evolutionary genetics and molecular biology to find out what was known, and what questions remained unanswered, and even what questions remained unasked.Written in an accessible style, it is intended for the educated general public, scientists, policy makers, health care workers, and politicians. It delves into the problems of trying to derive a logic-based understanding of a highly lethal emerging disease in 2014, when research funding cuts have gutted research institutions, and when public health institutions really were woefully unprepared. It is a highly distinct narrative analysis that is sure to stimulate new research and thinking in public policy. It will inform thousands of people of the nature of the virus, how it works, in terms they are likely to be able to understand. It will allow others to rapidly catch up with the story of Ebola.
How would you go about rebuilding a technological society from scratch?

If our technological society collapsed tomorrow what would be the one book you would want to press into the hands of the postapocalyptic survivors? What crucial knowledge would they need to survive in the immediate aftermath and to rebuild civilization as quickly as possible?

Human knowledge is collective, distributed across the population. It has built on itself for centuries, becoming vast and increasingly specialized. Most of us are ignorant about the fundamental principles of the civilization that supports us, happily utilizing the latest—or even the most basic—technology without having the slightest idea of why it works or how it came to be. If you had to go back to absolute basics, like some sort of postcataclysmic Robinson Crusoe, would you know how to re-create an internal combustion engine, put together a microscope, get metals out of rock, or even how to produce food for yourself?


Lewis Dartnell proposes that the key to preserving civilization in an apocalyptic scenario is to provide a quickstart guide, adapted to cataclysmic circumstances. The Knowledge describes many of the modern technologies we employ, but first it explains the fundamentals upon which they are built. Every piece of technology rests on an enormous support network of other technologies, all interlinked and mutually dependent. You can’t hope to build a radio, for example, without understanding how to acquire the raw materials it requires, as well as generate the electricity needed to run it. But Dartnell doesn’t just provide specific information for starting over; he also reveals the greatest invention of them all—the phenomenal knowledge-generating machine that is the scientific method itself. 


The Knowledge is a brilliantly original guide to the fundamentals of science and how it built our modern world.

It lurks in the corner of our imagination, almost beyond our ability to see it: the possibility that a tear in the fabric of life could open up without warning, upending a house, a skyscraper, or a civilization.

Today, nine out of ten Americans live in places at significant risk of earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, terrorism, or other disasters. Tomorrow, some of us will have to make split-second choices to save ourselves and our families. How will we react? What will it feel like? Will we be heroes or victims? Will our upbringing, our gender, our personality–anything we’ve ever learned, thought, or dreamed of–ultimately matter?
    
Amanda Ripley, an award-winning journalist for Time magazine who has covered some of the most devastating disasters of our age, set out to discover what lies beyond fear and speculation. In this magnificent work of investigative journalism, Ripley retraces the human response to some of history’s epic disasters, from the explosion of the Mont Blanc munitions ship in 1917–one of the biggest explosions before the invention of the atomic bomb–to a plane crash in England in 1985 that mystified investigators for years, to the journeys of the 15,000 people who found their way out of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Then, to understand the science behind the stories, Ripley turns to leading brain scientists, trauma psychologists, and other disaster experts, formal and informal, from a Holocaust survivor who studies heroism to a master gunfighter who learned to overcome the effects of extreme fear.

Finally, Ripley steps into the dark corners of her own imagination, having her brain examined by military researchers and experiencing through realistic simulations what it might be like to survive a plane crash into the ocean or to escape a raging fire.
    
Ripley comes back with precious wisdom about the surprising humanity of crowds, the elegance of the brain’s fear circuits, and the stunning inadequacy of many of our evolutionary responses. Most unexpectedly, she discovers the brain’s ability to do much, much better, with just a little help.

The Unthinkable escorts us into the bleakest regions of our nightmares, flicks on a flashlight, and takes a steady look around. Then it leads us home, smarter and stronger than we were before.
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