While Dr. Kent Brantly (’03) was lying in a hospital bed in Liberia fighting for his life, he remembers saying to God, “I know you can save me … but even if you don’t, I want to be faithful to you.”
Now, 15 days after the medical missionary was released from Emory University Hospital in Atlanta and declared free of the deadly Ebola virus, Brantly has no doubt that it was God who saved his life.
In an exclusive interview with NBC’s Matt Lauer, Brantly and his wife, Amber (Carroll ’06), relived those first terrifying and emotional days after he learned he was infected with a disease that has up to a 90 percent mortality rate. The interview will air tonight at 9 p.m., Central, on an NBC News Primetime Special “Saving Dr. Brantly: The Inside Story of a Medical Miracle.”
Brantly was serving in Liberia with the aid organization Samaritan’s Purse when an Ebola outbreak hit the West African country. He and his wife chose to stay and continue their work, and Brantly took over treatment of Ebola patients at the hospital.
Parts of Lauer’s interview with the couple aired this week on NBC Nightly News and on The Today Show. Those clips offer a glimpse of what went through the Brantlys’ minds as they realized he might not survive. Amber and their two children had flown back to the United States for a family wedding days before he became ill.
“I was so thankful that Amber and the kids were not there,” he tells Lauer. “Yeah, I wanted to be close to them. But that gave me great relief, knowing they were gone three days before I had any symptoms. That would have been an overwhelming mental burden, if I had woken up sick next to my wife with one of my kids snuggled up next to me.”
According to NBC, as part of tonight’s one-hour special, Lauer will talk with the doctors who treated Brantly and will visit the isolation room where he was treated.
Brantly earned a bachelor’s degree in biblical studies from Abilene Christian University in 2003 and later graduated from the Indiana University School of Medicine. His wife earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from ACU in 2006.
While undergraduates, both Brantlys served internships overseas through the university’s WorldWide Witness program that gives students from all academic backgrounds the short-term, focused vocational missions experience that shows them how to effectively serve God and others wherever their career takes them.
Watch previews of the interview from The Today Show.