UNC Health Talk

UNC’s Fischer one of ‘the ones who answered the call’

“They risked and persisted, sacrificed and saved,” TIME editor Nancy Gibbs wrote in her explanation for why the magazine chose Ebola Fighters as their Person of Year 2014.

“The rest of the world can sleep at night because a group of men and women are willing to stand and fight. For tireless acts of courage and mercy, for buying the world time to boost its defenses, for risking, for persisting, for sacrificing and saving, the Ebola fighters are TIME’s 2014 Person of the Year,” she concluded.

“The rest of the world can sleep at night because a group of men and women are willing to stand and fight.”

We are very proud that William A. Fischer II, MD, a critical care expert in the UNC School of Medicine, was one of “the ones who answered the call,” to borrow TIME’S phrase, when the Ebola outbreak of 2014 turned into an epidemic.

Dr. Fischer arrived in Gueckedou, Guinea — the epicenter of the outbreak — in late May as part of a team from Doctors without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières/MSF) to try to help reduce mortality from Ebola virus disease in rural communities. Dr. Fischer was recruited by the World Health Organization (WHO) because of his critical care medicine expertise. He spent 12 days working to save lives at an Ebola clinic in Gueckedou and wrote movingly about the experience in a series of emails to friends, family and colleagues, which you can read here.

Then in December, Dr. Fischer returned to West Africa. He and another UNC School of Medicine physician, David Wohl, MD, traveled to Monrovia, Liberia to assist in an Ebola treatment clinical trial. In the trial, which is run by ClinicalRM and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, plasma is taken from survivors of Ebola virus disease and given to patients who are actively sick in an effort to help them combat this disease.