Afraid

Coronavirus Nurses Ask An Ebola Veteran: Is It OK To Be Afraid?

Martha Phillips knows exactly how it feels to suddenly find oneself up close to — and unprotected from — a deadly virus.

In 2014, Phillips, an emergency room nurse, was at the bedside of a suspected Ebola patient in Sierra Leone when the disposable plastic guard protecting her face came loose.

“I turned my head quickly and my shield came off,” she recounted. “So I am in an Ebola treatment unit and my eyes are completely exposed.” She stayed calm and quickly left the room.

Phillips, 35 at the time, had arrived in a rural corner of northwestern Sierra Leone just as Ebola cases were surging in West Africa.

One day, early on, more than 50 patients flooded into their hospital — a collection of abandoned classrooms that had been converted into treatment units. She and other nurses worked into the night, until they ran out of supplies.

“We had

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