"What I'm doing is nothing terribly dramatic [or] courageous," he said. "I'm just helping out in a way that seems to make sense. There are many other health care workers who are on the front-lines who are at much greater risk than I am."
He also said that while Ebola is contagious, "it's not like influenza," as it is not airborne in its transmission. It is transmissible via direct human-to-human contact with infected blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids, as well as indirect contact with environments contaminated with these fluids.
"It's not like you can get Ebola from walking around the street," he said.
Aside from dealing with the outbreak, Dr. Flanigan is enriching his faith life through the experience. Family members and co-workers, as well as fellow medical professionals and the people of West Africa, continue to inspire and motivate him.
"They have a very deep faith here, and it really shines through in the middle of this challenge," he said. "After Mass, they have Adoration. I'm participating in that and it's very wonderful and beautiful for me. It's a great help to participate and be part of their prayer, worship and sacrament. God's always present."
He also said his wife, Luba, herself a physician, was willing to "hold down the fort" on her own, which is no easy task, considering that they have five children. Though three are adults, one is in sixth grade, and the other is an eighth-grader.
"My family, including my wife, said, 'If you think you can help, go ahead,'" he said. "And my colleagues at work have been kind enough to cover all the usual work that I do for two months."
Dr. Flanigan went on to praise his pastor.
"Father Shemek has been very supportive," he said. "The parish has been wonderful in providing supplies and raising money, which is really heartwarming."
To share that warmth with others, Dr. Flanigan created a blog at TimothyPFlaniganMD.com. He's updating it as often as possible, highlighting his journey.
"It's a way to chronicle my experience," he said.
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The blog not only captures his experiences, but also his faithfulness and affection for West Africans.
"There are so many Liberians who are working together in so many different ways," he said. "The people of Liberia have tremendous resiliency and have overcome many difficult challenges in the past. With help from international communities, they will be able to overcome this, as well."
Posted with permission from Rhode Island Catholic, official publication of the Diocese of Providence.