The Lassa Ward: One Man's Fight Against One of the World's Deadliest Diseases


Ross Donaldson is one of just a few who have ventured into dark territory of a country ravaged by war to study one of the world’s most deadly diseases. As an untried medical student studying the intersection of global health and communicable disease, Donaldson soon found himself in dangerous Sierra Leone, on the border of war-struck Liberia, where he struggled to control the spread of Lassa Fever. The words, “you know Lassa can kill you, don’t you?” haunted him each day. With the country in complete upheaval and working conditions suffering, he is forced to make life-and-death decisions alone as a never-ending onslaught of contagious patients flood the hospital. Soon however, he is not only fighting for others but himself when he becomes afflicted with a life threatening disease. THE LASSA WARD: One Man's Fight Against One of the World's Deadliest Diseases is more than just an adventure story about the making of a physician; it is a portrait of the Sierra Leone people and the human struggle of those risking their daily comforts and lives to aid them.


North American publisher: St. Martin's Press

Foreign rights: St. Martin's Press, Kerry Nordling (

Foreign rights sold: UK to Transworld; Korean to Eiji 21

Film rights: Gillian MacKenzie (


“Donaldson offers a thrilling account of his mission while a medical student to Sierra Leone… Required reading for all medical students and anyone looking for a little armchair medical adventure. —Lynne C Maxwell of Library Journal

“Donaldson started out as an earnest, well-meaning American medical student, off on a great African adventure. He came of age in the middle of a raging epidemic, civil war, and hideous poverty, discovering a humanity few Americans ever experience, offering a lesson that should be required reading for every doctor-in-training.”—Laurie Garrett, Pulitz er Prize winner and author of Betrayal of Trust: The Collapse of Global Public Health

“A touching and compelling account. The Lassa Ward brings to life the challenges and rewards that dedicated development workers face daily around the world.”—Joseph E. Stiglitz, 2001 Nobel laureate in economics