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Liberian Ebola nurse named Time’s Person of Year 2014 dies of childbirth because of medical staff fears


A Liberian nurse who was named Time magazine’s Person of the Year in 2014 for her heroic efforts to save victims of Ebola has died after giving birth to a son for lack of adequate medical care.

Salome Karwah, 28, from Liberia, gave birth to Jeramiah by caesarean section on February 17. But husband James Harris claims medical staff were unwilling to touch her and provide with needed attention because she was an Ebola survivor.

The mother-of-four, who tested negative for the disease, was re-admitted to hospital when she experienced complications after the birth.

Mr Harris said his wife started having convulsions and foamed at the mouth.

He told NPR: ‘[The doctor] was checking Facebook. Nurses came to help me, but the doctor told me that she would not touch her, and that if [Salome] stayed [at the hospital] she would die.’

He said that hospital workers did not treat her as quickly as they could have because of lingering superstitions about Ebola survivors.

Chief Medical Officer, Dr Francis Kateh, told the BBC: ‘We have to do a thorough investigation.’

During the Ebola crisis of 2014, Ms Karwah lost her mother, father and brother to the disease.

The couple, who met in 2013, both caught the disease in the summer of 2014.

Ms Karwah, who was pregnant at the time, her sister and Mr Harris survived the outbreak.

When they recovered, they were hired by Doctors Without Borders to help care for sufferers at their unit in Monrovia.

While working for the charity, Ms Karwah was not afraid to touch people with the disease and soothed crying babies back to sleep.

As she had survived the usually deadly disease, she could touch sufferers and not be at risk of contracting Ebola again.

At the end of 2014, the nurse was named by Time Magazine, along with a group of ‘Ebola Fighters’ as Person of the Year.

Ms Karwah’s friend Adolphus Mawolo has launched a GoFundMe page to help support Mr Harris, who is unemployed, and his four children.  Mawolo hopes to raise $20,000 to pay for medical bills, food, clothing and shelter.