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Phoenix doctor: Medical personnel struggle with risk working with infectious diseases

PHOENIX -- Medical professionals who deal with infectious diseases struggle with the decision between duty to others and duty to themselves daily.

Ebola has ramped that up. Dr. David Beyda with Phoenix Children's Hospital said the doctors and nurses in Africa are struggling with their consciences dealing with Ebola patients.

"The biggest danger is getting Ebola and dying from it," Beyda said. "It's an extremely difficult ethical decision to make. Caring for those who need help while at the same time protecting themselves so they don't compromise their well-being or their family."

The World Health Organization has declared Ebola to be an international health emergency after the deaths of almost 1,000 people in four West African countries.

"Obviously people move from country to country. I think with policies and procedures that are being put in place by the Centers for Disease Control and World Health Organization we have a very good handle on making sure Ebola is contained in the areas it is currently in."

Beyda is also a clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of Arizona College of Medicine. He directs the ethics and humanism theme for the medical school and also directs its global health program.

Since 2005 Beyda has led over 47 medical trips to Third World countries. He pilots forFlying Samaritans, flying to medical clinics in Mexico, and does bush flying in Africa. taking his medical teams to isolated areas.

"There's no need for people to panic. We're moving in the direction of being extremely aware of what the consequences are," Beyda said.

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About the Author


Position: Senior News Reporter. Started with KTAR July 4, 1999.

Favorite spots in Arizona: Pinetop-Lakeside, Alpine, Greer.

Have covered some of the biggest stories in Arizona including nine of the top 10 largest wildfires in state history. The Wallow Fire in 2011 became the largest fire in state history. Rodeo-Chediski Fire in June 2002, which is the second largest fire in Arizona. Covered the Yarnell Hill Tragedy in June 2013 that left 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots dead.

Favorite movies: True Grit, both 1969 John Wayne classic and the remake with Jeff Bridges and Lonesome Dove.

Sports Teams: Washington State University Cougars, Texas Longhorns, The University of Montana Grizzlies.

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