Pauline Cafferkey, the Scottish nurse who was admitted to the Royal Free Hospital with Ebola in December 2014, has been discharged today.
Ms Cafferkey has made a complete recovery and is now free of the virus, which she caught while caring for patients with Ebola in Sierra Leone. She praised the staff who cared for her at the Royal Free Hospital and said she was delighted to be going home after being treated in the high level isolation unit (HLIU) for more than three weeks.
The infectious diseases team, led by Dr Michael Jacobs, has treated Ms Cafferkey since she was admitted to the hospital on 30 December 2014.
She said: “I am just happy to be alive. I still don’t feel 100%, I feel quite weak, but I’m looking forward to going home. I want to say a big thank you to the staff who treated me - they were amazing. They were always very reassuring and I knew I was in the best hands. They saved my life.”
Ms Cafferkey also wanted to thank the Royal Free Charity, which donated an iPad for her to use while she was in the unit. “As I was beginning to recover, I listened to lots of music when I was in the HLIU and that was a massive help,” she said. “I also had lots of Irn Bru to help me through!”
Dr Jacobs added: “We are delighted that Pauline has recovered and is now well enough to go home. I am very proud of the staff who have been caring for her. It is because of the skill and hard work of the entire team that she is now able to go home.”
The Royal Free Hospital has the UK’s only HLIU, which is run by a dedicated team of medical staff.
The unit is designed to ensure staff can safely treat a patient with a dangerous infectious disease. Access to the unit is restricted and there are a number of measures in place to ensure the virus is contained.
Ms Cafferkey has left the hospital.
Images: Top - Pauline Cafferkey. Bottom - Pauline Cafferkey and Dr Michael Jacobs, infectious diseases consultant. Photos courtesy of Scotland on Sunday.
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About the high level isolation unit
The Royal Free Hospital has the UK’s only high level isolation unit, used for the treatment of infectious diseases. Find out more.
About the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust
The Royal Free began as a pioneering organisation and continues to play a leading role in the care of patients. Our mission is to provide world class expertise and local care. In the 21st century, the Royal Free London continues to lead improvements in healthcare.
The Royal Free London attracts patients from across the country and beyond to its specialist services in liver, kidney and bone marrow transplantation, haemophilia, renal, HIV, infectious diseases, plastic surgery, immunology, vascular surgery, cardiology, amyloidosis and scleroderma and we are a member of the academic health science partnership UCLPartners.
In July 2014 Barnet Hospital and Chase Farm Hospital became part of the Royal Free London.