Ebola Outbreak Forces Group of Doctors to Cancel Trip to Liberia

Published 07/31 2014 06:58PM

Updated 07/31 2014 07:02PM

PEKIN - A group of Pekin doctors have been planning and raising money for a mission trip to Liberia, but the recent Ebola outbreak has forced them to reroute.

The Pekin Hospital hosted a 5k fundraiser just three weeks ago, and the money raised was to help fund the hospital's mission trip to Monrovia, Liberia, this November.

"It's really nice to be able to help people, you know, out of your profession and to be able to help them out of your heart," Dr. Cindy Justus, the mission coordinator at the hospital, said.

The Liberian government was partnering with Pekin Hospital to send more than two dozen physicians to the country.

The trip was not planned until November, but with the disease continuing to spread, the hospital had to make some quick decisions.

"It just became more apparent that we needed to watch it even closer and see what was happening with the local governments, and the world health organization and all the other organizations that are in western Africa fighting the disease," Dr. Charles VanDyke, a physician at Pekin Hospital, said.

Liberia has nearly 250 confirmed Ebola-caused deaths.

"It just is to the point that it would not be a wise decision for us to go over there right now," Justus said.

And coupled with that, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that no one travel to these countries unless it is absolutely necessary.

"One little mistake in your health care can cause you to get the disease, come in contact with it," VanDyke said.

The hospital still talks with the Liberian government, and the doctors hope to make a trip out there at some point.

"They definitely have need, it's a very poor, backward country," VanDyke said.

The hospital is also still sending over medical supplies to the government to help out.

This is only their second mission trip as a hospital. They went to Nicaragua last year and helped more than 2,000 patients.

The group still wants to go on a medical trip this year, but they are now scrambling to lock down a new location.

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