By the time the Ebola outbreak ended in West Africa, 11,323 Ebola deaths and 28,646 cases had occurred, according to the World Health Organization.

By Caitlin Keating
Updated December 27, 2016 05:59 PM
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AP

The US doctor who survived Ebola after contracting it in Liberia in July, 2014, has returned to work in Fort Worth, Texas.

Dr. Kent Brantly began quietly practicing medicine in the United States around a year ago. He sees patients at a community health clinic, teaches family medicine residents and works one day a week in labor and delivery at John Peter Smith Hospital, according to the Star Telegram in Fort Worth.

Brantly says his experience in Liberia has helped shaped him into the man and doctor he is today.

“There are innumerable lessons we could draw from that experience,” Brantly told the newspaper. “The one I have tried to preach the most is choosing compassion over fear. I think that, at its core, is the most important lesson that this experience has illustrated. I talk about that from the perspective of my religious faith, the teachings of Jesus to love your neighbor as you love yourself.”

Seeing the devastation of Ebola firsthand has also helped him prepare for another outbreak.

“One of the lessons we learned is our interconnectedness, that anything happening somewhere around the world — any epidemic, disaster, humanitarian crisis — it can show up at our doorstep in the blink of an eye and we have to be prepared for that,” he said.

He calls his hospital a “safety net” for those who need his help and guidance.

“Many of our patients don’t have access to care anywhere else,” he told the newspaper. “And just like medicine anywhere else, I get to walk through life with people in the midst sometimes of their most difficult and challenging circumstances they’ve faced — a terminal diagnosis, bad news, poor prognosis and also the most joyful times with people — like the birth of a new baby.”The president and CEO of the JPS Health Network added that Ebola has changed how patients are now treated when they come to one of their clinics.“You’re going to be asked, ‘Where have you been? What symptoms are you facing?’” Robert Earley told the Star-Telegram. “You’re going to have a series of questions asked today that you weren’t asked five years ago.”Brantly, who nine days after becoming sick didn’t think he would survive, says that some of his patients recognize his face from when his story first made headline news.“I have patients in the clinic occasionally who say, ‘Where do I know you from?’ or “I’ve seen you on TV,’” he said. “And sometimes I have patients who I got to take care of as a resident and they show up in my clinic and put two and two together and they say, ‘I saw you on TV and I told everybody that’s my doctor.’ ”Since he fell ill in Liberia and barely made it out of the country alive, he has been on the cover of Time magazine and wrote a book with his wife, Amber, Called for Life: How Loving Our Neighbor Led Us Into the Heart of the Ebola Epidemic. He will also be part of a documentary, Facing Darkness which will be shown across the country for one-night only on March 30, 2017.Brantly wont rule out ever returning to Liberia or another country as a medical missionary, but for now he’s focused on the people who need him in Indiana.“I hope we get to back to that work, whether it’s disaster response or what we were setting out to do, which was to live lives of quiet service among people of great need,” he said. “Right now, we’re trying to do that among the people of Tarrant County.”