Dr Rick Sacra, of Holden, has been diagnosed with ebola in Liberia. Credit: Facebook Dr. Rick Sacra, of Holden, has been diagnosed with Ebola in Liberia. Credit: Facebook

 

The Massachusetts doctor who has contracted the Ebola virus in Liberia has been drawn to missionary medical work for decades, according to the CEO of a Worcester health center who knows him well.

 

 

In fact, Dr. Rick Sacra, whose identity was released Wednesday, cut short his recent stint at the Family Health Center of Worcester to return to west Africa to help Ebola patients there, said Frances Anthes, the center's CEO.

 

Anthes said he most recently returned from Liberia, where he has worked off-and-on since 1992, last April. Sacra, she said, had originally planned to return to that country in late August, but instead went back in early August after reading about the Ebola outbreak in west Africa. In the past, he has lived in Liberia for years at a time, returning to the states to refine his skills. Recently, said Anthes, he would split his year between the Worcester center and his missionary work.

 

"He is a wonderful person and a great doctor, someone who absolutely believes in his work," said Anthes. "It was always really clear he believed everyone had a right to health care, including the poor in other countries."

Sacra, who is father to three sons, is a family doctor who specializes in obstetrics, said Anthes.

Anthes said it was her understanding Sacra, who lives in Holden and originally hails from Wayland, is in good spirits.

Sacra is the third American to contract the disease in west Africa in recent months.

Last month two American missionaries survived their Ebola scare after being treated and released from an Atlanta facility.

Ebola has killed more than 1,500 in west Africa since March.