New Year’s Honours List: Knighthood for Royal Free Hospital Ebola doctor
PUBLISHED: 22:30 30 December 2015 | UPDATED: 11:31 31 December 2015
The Royal Free doctor who helped save the lives of those infected with the deadly Ebola virus has been awarded a knighthood in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List.
Infectious diseases consultant Dr Michael Jacobs and his team successfully treated Scottish nurse Pauline Cafferkey when she was first diagnosed with Ebola in December last year, and again this year when she developed meningitis caused by the virus.
Ms Cafferkey, from south Lanarkshire, made a full recovery and was discharged on November 11.
Dr Jacobs described the re-emergence of Ebola, which she contracted while caring for patients in Sierra Leone, as “unprecedented”.
The consultant also led the team which cared for nurse William Pooley and British Army corporal Anna Cross when they were infected with the virus after treating patients in Sierra Leone.
Dr Jacobs joins his Hampstead colleague Dr Daniel Martin, consultant in critical care medicine, in being honoured by the Queen for treating infected British patients.
Dr Jacobs said: “I’m honoured and humbled by this award.
“It is the nature of honours systems that they recognise individuals, but this truly was a team effort and I can’t praise too highly my exceptional, dedicated and skilful colleagues at the Royal Free. I am particularly grateful for the tremendous support and opportunities that they have given me.”
In treating the three Britons who contracted the deadly virus during the epidemic in West Africa, Dr Jacobs developed experimental treatments and used them successfully for the first time.
He also oversaw the care of others who were deemed at high risk of developing the virus.
Dr Jacobs added: “This has been a devastating two years for Ebola-affected countries in West Africa.
“The patients who we cared for at the Royal Free London exemplify the extraordinary courage and humanity of everyone who went to West Africa to help with the international aid effort.
“We are privileged and proud to have played a small part in the NHS humanitarian response to this medical emergency.”
Dr Martin was awarded an OBE for ensuring the safe provision of critical care in the Pond Street hospital’s high-level isolation unit where Ebola patients were treated.
He also carried out the necessary clinical procedures for Ebola patients.
Dr Martin said: “It is a privilege to have been recognised in this way and I am thrilled to be receiving the award.
“This is a phenomenal recognition for everyone at the Royal Free Hospital.
“The care we deliver to patients with Ebola and other contagious diseases is a huge team effort that would not be possible without the hard work and determination of every single person who has contributed to our successes.”
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