Health + Safety

Mother of Dead American Trapped in Liberia Amid Ebola Outbreak Speaks Out

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 8-7-2014 3-01-11 PM

Two Americans with Ebola have been flown in from Liberia in hopes of helping them successfully combat the deadly virus, but Ebola has already taken its first American victim. To be fair, 24-year-old Nathaniel Dennis did not have Ebola, but fear of the rapidly spreading disease certainly contributed to his death, says his older sister, Natasha Dennis.

The family of the comatose Maryland man who passed away in Liberia during the ongoing Ebola panic is trying to get his body back to the U.S. for a proper burial. An online fund has been created with the headline “Bring Nathaniel Home,” raising over $13,000 in the last ten days.

The siblings were on a family vacation in Liberia with their mother, Precious Dennis, who lives as an educator in the country. However, Nathaniel decided to stay in Liberia after the trip when he was offered a job at a local radio station. One month later, his mother found his body stiff and eyes rolled back in comatose on the bedroom floor.

“That’s when the Ebola outbreak started getting really big; of course, any time anyone’s sick they have to confirm that it’s not Ebola, so they put him in quarantine right away and he was there for three days just being treated for Ebola. All the tests came back negative,” explained Natasha. “So at this point we’re calling the embassy, we’re trying to get him out, everyone’s telling me that they’re not flying into Liberia at this time, no one can help us, there’s nothing they can do.”

The first Ebola case emerged in February, but has already killed more than 800 people in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. The family attempted to get Nathanial the treatment he needed once released from quarantine – which was a respirator and a dialysis machine – but Ghana wouldn’t let him in because they closed its borders to Liberia due to the Ebola scare.

“What we still don’t understand is that the next day after my brother passed, they sent a plane to go get these doctors that do have Ebola,” the grieving big sister told The Root.

“All we want to know is, why didn’t my brother get the same chance to come home, especially since he didn’t have Ebola?” Nathanial’s brother, Norwood, added. “He was an American citizen, just like them.”

Does this sound fair to you? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

(Photo Credit: “Bring Nathaniel Home” fund site)