CHARLOTTE, NC — A Charlotte missionary who survived the Ebola virus, and is now out of the hospital, is considering going back to West Africa.
Many are calling Nancy Writebol’s recovery a miracle.
Nancy and her husband, David, were serving as missionaries with SIM USA, treating Ebola victims in Liberia. Friends say they want to finish that mission.
“I spoke with them both this morning, and both just so thankful for what the Lord has done, the outpouring of compassion from people around the world,” says Calvary Church pastor Jim Cashwell.
Cashwell says David Writebol was in church Sunday, then on the road to Atlanta to reunite with his wife.
“They’ve been apart actually for about two weeks when she came back to the U.S. And so much happened,” says SIM USA President Bruce Johnson.
David wrapped up a 21-day quarantine on the SIM campus in Charlotte while Nancy was in a hospital isolation unit at the Emory University Hospital.
Writebol and Samaritan’s Purse doctor Kent Brantly were fighting for their lives.
“It was very much a touch and go situation, both in Liberia and then when they returned here,” says Johnson.
Writebol walked out of the hospital Tuesday, keeping her release private. Doctors declared her free of the Ebola virus, and say there is no health threat to the public.
“They are not contagious, they don’t, as a general rule, relapse, and they don’t spread the virus to anyone else,” says Dr. Bruce Ribner of Emory Healthcare.
Nancy is recovering with her husband at an undisclosed location, trying to regain her strength.
“Her energy level right now is just drained from having gone through this virus,” says Johnson. “So for that reason they just said let’s just slip out on Tuesday. She was ready to go.”
“Nancy sounded strong,” says Cashwell. “We realize she’s got to get stronger. But she and David were so encouraged, and so enthusiastic.”
Despite the brush with death, those close to the Writebols say their desire is to return to the work they started, and the people struggling to survive Ebola in West Africa.
“I know that their heart is, we want to be able to go back,” says Johnson. “It might be Liberia. It might be another location. But they want to serve.”
Doctors say people who survive Ebola are likely immune to the strain they contracted, but could still be vulnerable to other strains. There are five known to doctors.