Dillon nurse practitioner to work in Sierra Leone

Dillon, Mont. — A longtime Southwest Montana Community Health Center family nurse practitioner is heading to Sierra Leone to care for patients stricken by the Ebola epidemic. Pat Carrick leaves next week for the country, which is at the epicenter of the crisis, as part of her fourth assignment for Medicins sans Frontieres, more commonly known as Doctors Without Borders. “I will be working in an isolation ward with Ebola patients,” said Carrick, who is readying herself for the long journey. “I am eager to help. It’s a very overwhelming situation.” The CHC supports Carrick’s work, including three previous medical assignments to the African countries of Malawi and South Sudan. “Pat’s work is so important and mirrors her commitment to serving underserved populations,” said Jessica Hoff, CEO of the CHC in Dillon. Carrick will be stationed in the city of Kailahun, which is located in the eastern province of Sierra Leone, which borders Liberia and Guinea. Carrick also realizes that some people may be nervous about her assignment given the frightening nature of the outbreak and its fatality rate. However, she notes that the protocols and procedures undertaken by Doctors Without Borders is unprecedented to ensure safety. “They (Doctors Without Borders) are known for their caution and expertise,” she said. Measures include elaborate protective suits which are mandatory for patient care, and a 21-day quarantine after her assignment ends. “We wish Pat well as she cares for this vulnerable patient population,” said Hoff.