About the Memoir

The Lassa Ward: One Man's Fight Against One of the World's Deadliest Diseases“No matter how low a cotton tree falls, it is still taller than grass.”

Those are the words that humanitarian physician Dr. Aniru Conteh uses as he leaves a young medical student in charge of a ward filled with critically ill patients, in a hospital flooded with refugees from a runaway civil war. Ross Donaldson was that idealistic student, who gave up his comfortable life in the States to venture into Sierra Leone, a country ravaged by fighting and plagued by conflict streaming across the border from neighboring Liberia.

In a hospital ward with meager supplies, Ross has to find some way to care for patients afflicted with Lassa fever, a highly contagious hemorrhagic illness similar to Ebola. Forced to confront his own fear of the disease, he stands alone to make life-and-death decisions in the face of a never-ending onslaught of the sick inundating the hospital. Ultimately, he finds himself not only fighting for the lives of others but also for his own.

The Lassa Ward is the memoir of a young man studying to become a physician, while trying to make his way through a land where a battle against one of the world's deadliest diseases matches a struggle for human rights and human decency. It is also the story of a young doctor-in-the-making who rises to the occasion and does his best to save the patients in his care, but not without finally having to confront his own human frailty.