William Taliaferro Close (1924-2009) was a young surgeon when he first went to Zaire in 1960. He practiced medicine and surgery there for the next sixteen years. During the upheavals that followed independence, he was for a year the only surgeon at the fifteen-hundred-bed Kinshasa General Hospital. Later he was in charge of rebuilding the hospital and became president of its board of directors. He served as a chief doctor of the Congolese army and personal physician to the president of Zaire. During the Ebola outbreak of 1976 he supervised logistics for the international medical team, and during the 1995 outbreak he worked as an unofficial liaison among the Centers for Disease Control, the Zairian government, and many concerned international organizations. Dr. Close was a fellow of the American College of Surgeons and a fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians. He practiced family medicine in Big Piney, Wyoming, from 1977 until a month before his death. Dr. Close was married for sixty-five years and had four children, six grandchildren, and an adopted Congolese son.
"Eloquent, gripping, harrowing."--Richard Preston, author of
The Hot Zone