American dies in Liberia after being trapped amid Ebola outbreak
A 24-year-old American man who fell into a coma after seizures has died in Liberia while his family fought to get him out of the country amid a border lockdown over the Ebola outbreak.
Nathaniel Dennis, 24, from Maryland, died on Wednesday morning at Aspen Medical in Sinkor, Liberia. He had been in a coma since July 24 after suffering seizures earlier this month while on vacation visiting family.
Due to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, Mr Dennis was unable to be medically evacuated to a facility in Ghana which had the proper facilities to treat him – despite testing negative for the deadly disease.
The 24-year-old lay comatose and was unable to receive the life-saving treatment that he needed, including a respirator and kidney dialysis machine, which the medical center did not have.
Mr Dennis had been quarantined for three days after he fell ill at JFK Medical Center over fears he had the Ebola virus.
A few days later, the Liberian government closed most of the country’s borders to try to stop the spread of Ebola.
The Dennis family hired a Medevac unit on July 27, in the hopes they could take him to Korle Bu Teaching Hospital in Ghana but the country refused to grant clearance to land.
Doctors, with the help of the U.S. Embassy and the Ghanaian government, had tried to find a neurologist to assess the young man but were unable to do so in time.
On the family’s GoFundMe page today, his sister Natasha Dennis wrote: ‘This is a circumstance of timing, logistics, and unpreparedness by local governments.
‘It could have been prevented. We don’t know what happened to him; besides lack of immediate treatment.’
In a family statement, it was reported that Mr Dennis had been born three months’ premature and required a shunt to his brain.
A graduate of Howard High School in Maryland, he studied at Howard Community College. The 24-year-old was an aspiring musician who had been working as a DJ at a Liberian radio station prior to his death.
On his Facebook page on July 22, the ‘endlessly positive’ young man had posted the words: ‘What doesnt kill me makes me stronger.’
Family and friends had been fundraising to bring Nathaniel home but the money will now be put towards his burial.