The latest patient to be treated for the Ebola virus arrived in the United States on Saturday afternoon. Ebola patient Dr. Martin Salia was transported to Nebraska, where he will undergo treatment at the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. A native of Sierra Leone — where he contracted the deadly virus — Salia is a permanent U.S. resident, and currently resides in Maryland. At this time, it's unclear how Salia, a surgeon, contracted the virus, as he doesn't attend to Ebola patients at his Sierra Leone hospital.
The Associated Press reports that Salia, 44, arrived in Nebraska on Saturday in critical condition. Hospital officials believe his current state may be worse than the other Ebola-afflicted health workers who were transferred to the United States from West Africa for treatment, including survivors Kent Brantley and Nancy Writebol.
Salia's health team in Sierra Leone said he was "critically ill," CNN adds. However, the news source reports that Salia was evaluated this week in Freetown, Sierra Leone, by an air ambulance crew, who cleared the doctor for travel.
Still, Salia's family, who coordinated with federal officials for his transport to America, are worried, according to CBS affiliate WJZ. In an interview with reporter Mike Hellgren, Salia's wife, Isatu, said: "Since 1 o’clock when I spoke to him, I can’t sleep ... I know he’s sick. He was a little slow talking."
According to WJZ, Salia has been splitting his time between his native country Sierra Leone and the United States. The doctor has been treating patients at a Methodist hospital in Sierra Leone, one of the most Ebola-stricken countries in West Africa. However, Salia's son, Maada, said his father doesn't typically treat Ebola patients at the Sierra Leone hospital, but he knew the risks about serving as a health care worker in the disease-afflicted nation.
Maada Salia told WJZ:
He told us he knew the situation back home when this Ebola started. The fact that he would go back to his country and help is one thing that really amazed me because he showed the love that he has for his country. The fact that he left here and went back to his country, that made me worry a little bit, especially when he’s a doctor, and he treats patients because he doesn’t know who has the virus.
Salia is the 10th person to be treated for Ebola in the United States, and the third Ebola patient admitted to Nebraska Medical Center. The Omaha facility successfully treated Dr. Rick Sacra, a physician from Massachusetts, and Ashoka Mukpo, a freelance cameraman for NBC. Ebola patients are admitted to the hospital's biocontainment unit, which was commissioned by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2005.
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