Emanuel Mansari: Determined to Live

Won Against Ebola, But Lost to Italian Quacks

In Memory of Emanuel Mansari and other undocumented victims of the conspiracy of silence. He had miraculously pulled through, but a cocktail of aesthetics eventually put him six feet under.

In Brief

  • Emanuel Mansari survived Ebola only to die of an overdose of anesthetics that were wrongfully administered by Emergency, a UKaid-funded NGO working in Sierra Leone. 
  • Emergency is on the spotlight for unorthodox practices that include liberal use of the infamous Amiodarone drug to treat infected patients, as well as diuretics and anesthetics 
  • Several of Emergency's staff members confirmed grievous malpractices by the NGO 


Emanuel, a popular name among Christians, means ‘God is with us’. In this heart-wrenching story, prayer failed to save seventeen-year-old Emanuel Mansari from the ungodly hands of Dr. Gina Portella, the head of Emergency - a UK aid-funded NGO in Sierra Leone. Our investigation can confirm that the teenager died of an anesthetics overdose, after successfully fighting the Ebola virus for two months.

From verified documentation availed to us, the distressing truth is that Emanuel wasn’t the only victim.

Emanuel Mansari: Why did he have to die?

Testimonies from various medics who worked under Dr. Portella during Emanuel’s stay at the center all say his death was ‘highly avoidable’. One of the medics told our team, “Emanuel’s death is one that should never have been. It pains knowing that despite his determination to recover from Ebola, we let him die because we were too afraid of Gina.”

An Italian medic who served at the centre summed it up; “What I saw done by my fellow Italians makes me hate being one. I hated myself the most the morning I learnt of Emanuel’s death. He was a fighter, but we failed him, and so we were to blame for his death.”

Another health worker, a South African seconded to the Italian team, told us of her frustration when they were compelled to implement unethical orders from a clearly incompetent anesthetist. “Can you imagine a so-called doctor who has to rely on Google to find dosage for drugs? In South Africa, anesthetists cannot be allowed to treat patients.”

“Boy, big fighter. Me cry now think of that nasty Italian woman killing him, many overdose sedative. Too many! Too many! Even horse kill! Boy in heaven now, but Gina no heaven. Many die day after day!”

After confessing his poor English, an Asian medic who also served at the center tried to find some rationale for Emergency’s style of leadership. On a recorded Skype call, he reasoned that the Italians were probably good doctors, but the fact that they couldn’t communicate except with fellow Italians might have caused the numerous misdiagnosis that led to deaths, including Emanuel’s.

“Me, never seen anesthetics and antibiotics given many, many, many times in one day, that no doctor (sic).” On Emanuel, he said, “Boy, big fighter. Me cry now think of that nasty Italian woman killing him, many overdose sedative. Too many! Too many! Even horse kill! Boy in heaven now, but Gina no heaven. Many die day after day!”

The medics we talked to and quoted in this report requested for anonymity.

Thumbing Up! Emanuel thought the worse was over when he got the news of being cleared of Ebola, but some experts had other ideas

For a little over two months, Emanuel went through unimaginable pain and agony. Helpless and hopeless, very few expected him to survive the virus whose symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea and bleeding. Miraculously he pulled through. It was a joyous moment when his blood tested negative for Ebola, according to the medics.

Emanuel’s negative test result was the talk at the center. “It didn’t matter how many times you told others or how many times you were told. We were ecstatic,” said one medic.

When an isolated patient tests negative he or she is  moved to a cooling-off area waiting to be discharged. And here is where everything went wrong for Emanuel. According to our sources, on the eve of his release some Ebola ‘expert’ decided to administer almost all the medication Emanuel had been taking as part of his ‘release cocktail’. Among the medication were numerous sedatives.

Did he die peacefully? Perhaps he was knocked out and didn’t feel the pain the drugs caused, so, maybe. The final entry in his medical report read: “Emanuel died sometimes last night, due to possible sedatives overdose.” He was eager to be re-integrated into his community and planned to preach about his dalliance with death.

The questions now are; How many other Emanuels exist in Sierra Leone? How many more will continue to suffer under uncaring and incompetent individuals? Or if they are competent, are their acts deliberate? And to what end.

The ultimate quest would be to obtain scientific evidence in Emanuel’s case. One source could be Dr. Portella herself - she is an avid collector of all sorts of body tissues from the dead as well as survivors. An autopsy of the remains would also do. Luckily Emanuel wasn’t cremated because he was free of Ebola. But then nobody seems to care, after all he was just a number.