Tim Mosher ’14 is decontaminated during the Ebola Outbreak in Africa

Fighting Ebola and Making Medical History: My education and faith gave me the confidence I needed to STAND and serve

The sweat begins flowing immediately as a heightened sense of purpose and foreboding pushes me forward. Rubber gloves, protective suit, hood and double face mask swallows my body in preparation to work in a sweltering, humid, African jungle clinic. Is this for real?

Just two months prior to this day, I was joyously receiving my master’s degree in nursing to become a nurse practitioner at age 52. Who could imagine that very shortly I would have the opportunity to epitomize Otterbein’s mission of preparing students to “engage locally and globally?” God certainly knew, and had already given me decades of experience in crisis situations to pave the way for my new skills to meet a historic global opportunity.

The call came. “Can you go to Liberia to treat Ebola?”  Normally, a “yes” rolls off the tongue without hesitation, but not this time. A 90 percent mortality rate without treatment requires a great deal of consideration. An evaluation of time, resources, skills, experience and calling makes clear that “yes” is the only option—to whom much is given, much is required. I could not turn away from those in dire circumstances and physical anguish. God would carry me through the storm.

In spite of my rapid heart rate and hard breathing, I am able to begin focusing my mind on the task at hand. My vision narrows and anxiety lessens as we pass through the gated entrance of the clinic and into its unlit hallways. Discomfort pales in comparison to the horrors of Ebola. I begin to see for the first time: Yes, this is for real.

Later in this trip I was part of the first-ever infusion of an experimental antibody into a human for the treatment of Ebola. In the confines of his bedroom, we battled for the life of Dr. Kent Brantly, giving the serum in what seemed like his final hours. It was surreal knowing that millions of people around the world were watching and waiting. Within hours his body responded, and he was safely on his way to America, to survive and tell his unique story.

Even though I was a freshly minted nurse practitioner, the pathophysiologic and pharmacokinetic approach to education provided by Otterbein gave me the confidence I needed to function in this unusual clinical setting. The statement is true: Success happens when preparation meets opportunity.

The cutting-edge work of this team resulted in a breakthrough in Ebola treatment that has the potential to change the course of this dreaded disease forever.

From where I stand, to have an impact a person has to engage. Get busy, do something for someone and see what might happen.

Tim Mosher MSN ’14

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