The family of a comatose Maryland man who passed away in Liberia during the ongoing Ebola quarantine is now trying to get his body back to the U.S. for a proper burial.
Nathaniel Dennis, 24, was visiting family in Monrovia, Liberia this month when he suffered multiple seizures July 24. He was hospitalized and had been comatose until his death Wednesday, despite the efforts of his family to bring him to home for treatment.
In an effort to control the spread of the deadly Ebola virus, Liberia's president has closed the majority of the country's borders, meaning Dennis' family was unable to transport him to a hospital in Ghana via medical evacuation -- although he had tested negative for Ebola, his family said.
"At the same time, I'm relieved because I know my brother is no longer suffering," Dennis' brother Norwood Dennis said.
According to a GoFundMe site his family set up, Dennis grew sicker and began to need dialysis and a ventilator -- but the equipment wasn't available at the facility where he was.
"We're all devastated," Dennis' cousin Vannette Tolbert said. "We don't feel like we've been defeated because we tried as hard as we could."
A fundraiser was held in Dennis' honor Wednesday night at Lima Lounge on K Street NW in D.C. His family hopes to raise enough money to help transport his body back to the U.S. for a proper burial -- as of Wednesday night, the family had raised nearly $11,000.
Dennis' mother had traveled to Liberia to be with her son, but was unable to see him due to the quarantine. A medical examiner in Liberia will conduct an autopsy which should shed light on what exactly led to his death.
Dennis graduated from Howard High School and studied at Howard Community College.