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Ebola Calls Northwest Volunteers To Action, Medical Centers To Prepare

Courtesy photo

Across the Northwest medical professionals are getting ready for Ebola.

Some are volunteering to fly out and help patients in west Africa. Others are practicing and equipping their hospitals to receive a case if needed.

Marc Bouma, an E.R. nurse at Swedish Hospital in Seattle, is taking a leave of absence for Ebola. On Sunday he’s flying out of SeaTac and is headed for a remote county in southeast Liberia.

Bouma said many of his family and friends were upset he’d miss Thanksgiving and likely Christmas in a hazardous situation.

“One of my favorite reactions; I was actually at work. I was telling some people at work that I was going in a couple weeks, and one of the doctor was standing next to me and actually took a step back,” Bouma said. “I was like, ‘Don’t worry doctor, I haven’t got Ebola yet.’”

Bouma will be part of a team with a non-profit called Partners in Health. He and others will try to treat and prevent the spread of Ebola there until at least mid-December.

In Portland, Oregon Health and Science University is conducting training this week with tricky protective outfits and a dummy that simulates Ebola symptoms.

Anna King calls Richland, Washington home and loves unearthing great stories about people in the Northwest. She reports for the Northwest News Network from a studio at Washington State University, Tri-Cities. She covers the Mid-Columbia region, from nuclear reactors to Mexican rodeos.