The Lassa Ward: One Man's Fight Against One of the World's

The Lassa Ward: One Man's Fight Against One of the World's Deadliest Diseases Ross Donaldson is one of just a few who have ventured into dark territory of a country ravaged by war to study one of the world’s most deadly diseases As an untried medical student studying the intersection of global health and communicable disease, Donaldson soon found himself in dangerous Sierra Leone, on the border of warstruck Liberia, where he struggled to control the spread of Lassa Fever The words, “you know Lassa can kill you, don’t you?” haunted him each day With the country in complete upheaval and working conditions suffering, he is forced to make lifeanddeath decisions alone as a neverending onslaught of contagious patients flood the hospital Soon however, he is not only fighting for others but himself when he becomes afflicted with a life threatening disease The Lassa Ward is than just an adventure story about the making of a physician; it is a portrait of the Sierra Leone people and the human struggle of those risking their daily comforts and lives to aid them Donald's memoir recounts his two months working as an aid worker in the Lassa ward in a remote area of Sierra Leone Lassa fever is highly contagious, similar to Ebola, and requires quarantining the patients and extreme caution by the caregivers in order to prevent spreading the disease.Donaldson was still a med student during the time he spent in Africa, but due to short staffing and fear of transmission, the Lassa ward served as an excellent training ground for him I thought his explanations of what could be complicated medical jargon were easy to understand I also liked the day by day accounting of his experience I might have given this book four stars were it not for several jarring proofreading errors I've kind of become accustomed to spelling errors and disjointed sentence structure, (although it's still a pet peeve) but this book had me stymied as to how it slipped past There were several paragraphs that were repeated wordforword in the last portion of the book that had been in the first couple of chapters I can't imagine that it was deliberate?! It was as if the proofreader used copy and paste rather than cut and paste when moving text around Maybe I'm being petty but I thought it was a careless mistake and it devalued the book for me I hope they correct the errors if it's reprinted in the future. Overall I really liked this book I thought it was an inspiring story that demonstrated the stark contrast between life here in the U.S versus elsewhere, and showing just how good most Americans have it It is the story of a young med student which depicts his journey from California to Sierra Leone to work on the Lassa disease It was hard to read about kids and innocent people going through such struggle I think this book was definitely eye opening for me and I would recommend it! Ross is a medical student from California who decides to go to Africa, to learn about the deadly Lassa Fever in a ward in Sierre Leone and write a paper about his experiences Nothing there is as he expected This book isabout his experience of the chasm between cultures and the completely different mind set of the people there Of the polarity of medical care where there are no supplies for things he takes for granted Such as the fact there is not even a breathing bag/mask and there is no way to even test for what they are treating How even though health care is supposed to be free, health care workers refuse to treat those who cannot pay How care workers do not understand the differences between viruses and bacteria or that different antibiotics treat different infections He is unsure and frightened of making a mistake that costs someone their life.The book is less about Lassa Fever andabout his own personal education of a system doing its best with no resources or support amidst political chaos.After reading this book and against the aftermath of the recent Ebola epidemic, I have to wonder how little things have changed in over ten years. This could be three stars, I suppose, but the writing drove me up the wall and back down, andthe rest of it didn't really help matters.The backcover copy says:Ross Donaldson was an idealistic young medical student when he gave up his comfortable life in the States to venture into Sierra Leone, a country ravaged by fightingNope He spent a summer between years of higher education doing research and humanitarian work He gave up those creature comforts for two months Not the same as '[giving] up his comfortable life in the States'.Now, in a hospital ward with meager supplies, Ross is in a race against time to find a way to care for patients afflicted with Lassa feverAgain: nope The only significant 'race against time' involved the fact that he was only there for two months He wasn't working to find a cure (there was already a drug on the market, though not an ideal one) he was a med student doing research and helping out (Getting patients started on medication for Lassa was timesensitive but not nearly as dramatic as it sounds here.)Forced to confront his own fears, he stands alone to make lifeanddeath decisions in the face of a neverending onslaught of the sick.Whoa there, cowboy Briefly, yes when theexperienced doctor leaves town for a week But even then there are others he can consult with, and most of the time he's not alone and not making the tough decisions Much of the time the big problem is that supplies are so limited.Ultimately, he finds himself not only fighting for the lives of others but also for his own.Wellsort of But not in the way the copy implies (view spoiler)[It doesn't involve Lassa fever, and he's home before he gets sick (hide spoiler)]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *