Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
The Lassa Ward

The Lassa Ward

One Man's Fight Against One of the World's Deadliest Diseases

Ross I. Donaldson, M.D., M.P.H.

St. Martin's Griffin


Trade Paperback

Ross Donaldson was an idealistic young medical 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 is in a race against time to find a way to care for patients afflicted with Lassa fever, a deadly and highly contagious hemorrhagic illness similar to Ebola. Forced to confront his own fears, he stands alone to make life-and-death decisions in the face of a never-ending onslaught of the sick. 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 be a physician, while making his way through a land where a battle against one of the world's deadliest diseases matches a struggle for human rights and decency.


Praise for The Lassa Ward

“Effortlessly transmits both the facts and the fascination of a bad infectious outbreak...[a] portrait of contagion at the highest possible magnification.” —The New York Times

“A touching and compelling account. The Lassa Ward brings to life the challenges and rewards that dedicated development workers face daily around the world.” —Joseph E. Stiglitz, 2001 Nobel laureate in economics

“Required reading for all medical students and anyone looking for a little armchair medical adventure.” —Library Journal

“Donaldson started out as an earnest, well-meaning American medical student, off on a great African adventure. He came of age in the middle of a raging epidemic, civil war, and hideous poverty, discovering a humanity few Americans ever experience. Donaldson has bared his soul, offering a lesson that should be required reading for every doctor-in-training.” —Laurie Garrett, Pulitzer Prize winner and author of Betrayal of Trust: The Collapse of Global Public Health

“A potent mix of travel memoir, coming-of-age narrative and medical mystery. Donaldson's experiences treating a frighteningly infectious and often deadly hemorrhagic fever, the strength of his West African patients, and his own grave illness bring him to a contemplation of mortality, poverty, civil war, and medicine as it is practiced in the first and third worlds.” —Jo Perry,

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Ross I. Donaldson, M.D., M.P.H.

DR. ROSS I. DONALDSON is a UCLA medical professor who works in one of Los Angeles's main trauma centers, specializing in emergency medicine and global health. He is author of several medical texts and has been a humanitarian in some of the world's most dangerous places. When in the States, he resides in Venice Beach, California.

Dr. Ross Donaldson

Marion Ettlinger

Dr. Ross Donaldson

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From the Publisher

St. Martin's Griffin

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