A Claremore nurse returned to work for the Cherokee Nation following a stint in Liberia caring for health care workers who may have contracted the Ebola virus.
Dana Hayworth was welcomed back to W.W. Hastings Hospital in Tahlequah with a reception this week, following 21 days at home after her return to the U.S.
Hayworth volunteered for two months this winter at the Monrovia Medical Unit in West Africa, providing IV hydration, medication, blood products and nutrition to workers on the front lines of the Ebola medical crisis, as part of her work as a commander with the U.S. Public Health Service.
“Like our Native people, the Liberian people have a lot of strong ties to culture, customs, family and community. They took care of each other. It was awesome to see their resiliency in the face of this horrible disease," Hayworth said.
Two other Cherokee citizens also worked in the Monrovia Medical Unit in Liberia including an Oklahoma City epidemiologist, Lt. Commander Julie Erb-Alvarez.
Hayworth has been employed at W.W. Hastings in Tahlequah for 10 years, working in the occupational therapy department.
“We're very glad to have Dana back safely, and we're looking forward to putting her back to work and implementing some of the things she learned in Liberia,” said W.W. Hastings CEO Brian Hail.
“We can't train our staff on the types of conditions she was working in, so the experiences and the knowledge base that she has brought back to us is invaluable for working with people in a truly underserved population.”
Hayworth plans to use her experience to train the Cherokee Nation on steps to fight Ebola should it ever reach northeast Oklahoma.