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Adventist Docs Have Recommendations for WHO on Ebola


LOMA LINDA – Dr. Gillian Seton and Dr. James Appel, Adventist Health International missionary doctors to West Africa, told stories and gave recommendations concerning the Ebola crisis to an overflowing audience at Loma Linda University’s Frank Damazo Amphitheater Friday evening. Loma Linda University’s Global Health Institute hosted the vespers program as part of its 2014 Global Healthcare Conference.

Drs. Appel and Seton took turns telling stories of their work in West Africa. Dr. Seton was serving as a physician at the SDA Cooper Hospital in Monrovia, Liberia when the Ebola outbreak hit the country. Cooper Hospital was initially intended to be a rehabilitation facility and is not set up to care for Ebola patients. Cooper was one of the few non-Ebola hospitals to continue seeing patients during the outbreak. Other Liberian hospitals closed their doors. When Dr. Seton traveled back to the United States from Liberia, she recounted that nobody questioned her when she entered the country. “I don’t want to scare you, but I do,” she told the audience. United States agencies must be more vigilant to stop Ebola’s global spread, she said.

Dr. Appel recounted receiving a call from Dr. Richard Hart, president of Loma Linda University and of Adventist Health International. When Dr. Hart asked Appel to consider leaving his work in Chad to go to Cooper Hospital in Liberia, “My first reaction was stark terror,” Appel said. Appel told the audience that while in Chad, his two young children contracted malaria. His son died from the illness, Appel said to gasps from the crowd. “How many African babies was my son worth?” Appel asked. Despite the devastation from losing his son, Appel said it was worth it to be able to save the lives of many more children. And Appel looked to his faith in the resurrection. “I will see my son again,” he said.

Both Seton and Appel gave several specific recommendations to organizations combating Ebola, including the United States government and the World Health Organization.

Watch the full vespers program entitled “Front Lines of the Ebola War.”

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