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In 2014 after fighting through yards of bureaucratic red tape, leaving her family, and putting her own health at risk in order to help suffering strangers, Kwan Kew Lai finally arrived in Africa to volunteer as an infectious disease specialist in the heart of the largest Ebola outbreak in history. What she found was not only blistering heat, inadequate working conditions, and deadly, unrelenting illness, but hope, resilience, and incredible courage.
Lest We Forget chronicles the harrowing and inspiring time spent serving on the front lines of the ongoing Ebola outbreak--the complicated personal protective equipment, the chlorine-scented air, the tropical heat, and the heartbreaking difficulties of treating patients she could not touch. Dr. Lai interweaves original diary entries to create a gripping narrative about life, death, and human relationships that will leave no reader unmoved.
This book exposes the raw brutality of Ebola, as well as the chaotic nature of the undersupplied and understaffed health infrastructure in the developing world. At once a memoir of triumphs and failures and a memorial, this book will ensure that the victims of Ebola and the fighters who sought to heal them will not be forgotten.
About the Author
Kwan Kew Lai is an infectious disease specialist. More than a decade ago, after first volunteering in the aftermath of the South Asian tsunami, she left her position as a full-time professor of medicine and now divides her time between practicing clinical medicine and aiding with disaster relief in various parts of the world. Seeing the horrific effects of the Ebola outbreak on the people of West Africa, she felt a moral obligation to be both a participant and a witness of the efforts to stamp out this epidemic.
"A firsthand, eye-opening account of the devastating impact of a infectious disease outbreak, which has the potential to spread worldwide. If you are looking to be inspired by one person's compassion and desire to help those inflicted with a deadly illness, this is a must read. This is a personal, heartfelt narrative of what it means to be a good global citizen by unselfishly serving those suffering from healthcare disparity and lack of education and proper training while understanding and respecting local culture. Thank you Dr. Kwan Kew Lai for being a voice for those who have suffered." --Moeen Saleem, MD, Advocate Medical Group, Board of Directors, MedGlobal — Moeen Saleem, MD
"Picking up this book, I was quite unprepared for the gripping, page-turning quality, the deep personal insights, the lyricism, and the candid, heartfelt explorations of fear, courage, love and loss. This is an unforgettable book. A reminder of what contagion is like at its deadliest, and what medicine can be like at its very best." --Abraham Verghese, author of Cutting For Stone — Abraham Verghese
"The reality of the Ebola epidemic can be painful to read about, because it contains so much tragedy. As an experienced doctor, Lai maintains sufficient distance in order to make the experience tolerable for the reader, while still exhibiting empathy and not closing herself off to the truth . . . Her memoir is an important voice that reminds us that we must not turn away from that which is profoundly tragic and fear-inducing. Facing it is the only way to maintain our shared humanity." --Wellesley Magazine — Wellesley Magazine