It's a 'miraculous day' for Ebola patient Dr. Kent Brantly, but what role did prayer play?

Here at GetReligion, we frequently refer to holy ghosts.

Holy ghosts are important religious elements of news stories that often go unnoticed or unmentioned by the mass media.

In watching today's news conference on the release of Ebola patient Dr. Kent Brantly from Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, the faith angle was impossible to miss:

Just a few weeks ago, after Brantly contracted the often-deadly virus while serving as a medical missionary in Liberia, a fellow doctor characterized his prognosis as "grave." However, "thousands, even millions" of people around the world prayed for him, Brantly said at the news conference.

But will Brantly's focus on prayer make it into news reports?

An initial Associated Press story mentions Brantly's "miraculous day" quote and an experimental treatment called Zmapp that Brantly and colleague Nancy Writebol received. But the notion that God saved his life as "a direct answer" to prayers fails to make the cut.

Maybe the omission is a matter of space constraints. The story does include this statement from Writebol's husband:

In his statement, David Writebol said his wife "was greatly encouraged knowing that there were so many people around the world lifting prayers to God for her return to health. Her departure from the hospital, free of the disease, is powerful testimony to God's sustaining grace.

There's no direct mention of prayer in CNN's online report, either. But God shows up throughout the piece:

(CNN) -- Both Americans who were treated for the Ebola virus have been discharged from a hospital.
"Today is a miraculous day," Dr. Kent Brantly said at a Thursday news conference in Atlanta with Emory University Hospital staff members. "I am thrilled to be alive, to be well and to be reunited with my family." The hospital had announced that he was being discharged Thursday.
The other patient, Nancy Writebol, was released Tuesday and is choosing not to make public comments, the hospital said.
Emory's staff is confident that their discharges pose "no public health threat," said Dr. Bruce Ribner, director of Emory's Infectious Disease Unit, adding that Writebol requested her discharge not be publicly announced at the time.
As she walked out of her isolation room, Writebol said, "To God be the glory," Brantly said at the news conference.

Meanwhile, an in-depth profile of Samaritan's Purse — the evangelical humanitarian aid organization for which Brantly was working — made the front page of today's Washington Post. 

It's a pretty good story, although I chuckled at the Post's efforts to make Samaritan's Purse sound like a little-known NGO ("nongovernmental organization"). I suspect folks in the "Fly Over States" (like the one where I live) might be more familiar with it than a journalist in an Inside-the-Beltway newsroom. But that could be my Bible Belt bias typing.

Samaritan's Purse declined interview requests for the Post story. However, Franklin Graham, its president and CEO, was happy to contribute an opinion column — all in his own words — to USA Today.

If you see other coverage worth noting — ghost-free or not — feel free to share the link below or tweet us at @GetReligion.

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