Dr. Martin Salia Dies Of Ebola In Nebraska Hospital
Two days after being transported from Sierra Leone to a medical facility in Nebraska, Dr. Martin Salia has died of Ebola, hospital officials confirmed Monday. A legal resident of the United States, Salia split his time between Maryland, where he lived with his family, and Sierra Leone, where he worked as a surgeon at a Methodist hospital. Salia, who was a native of Sierra Leone, did not treat Ebola patients there, and it's currently unknown how he contracted the deadly virus.
Salia was rushed via an ambulance aircraft from the Sierra Leone capital of Freetown to Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha Saturday afternoon. The prestigious Nebraska hospital has a biocontainment unit — commissioned nearly a decade ago by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — where two other Ebola patients were successfully treated.
Dr. Philip Smith, medical director of NMC's biocontainment unit, said in a statement released on the hospital's Facebook page on Monday:
Salia was placed on a ventilator and dialysis as soon as he arrived in Omaha, Smith said. He was showing "advanced symptoms" of Ebola, including kidney and respiratory failure, and needed multiple medications to support his organs. Smith added that Salia received doses of ZMapp, the experimental drug thought to help Ebola patients survive, and convalescent plasma.
Salia's wife, Isatu, said in a statement on Monday:
It was clear before Salia arrived in the United States that his situation was more dire than the previous patients who contracted the virus in West Africa. The health team caring for the surgeon in Sierra Leone had said that he was seriously ill, and Nebraska Medical Center officials said on Saturday that Salia was in "extremely critical condition," CNN reported. However, an air ambulance crew that evaluated Salia in Freetown last week determined it was safe for him to travel to the United States.When Salia arrived in Nebraska Saturday afternoon, he did not walk out of the ambulance like many of the Ebola patients treated here in the United States. Photos show Salia strapped to a stretcher, protected in a special chamber.
Salia worked at Kissy United Methodist Hospital — a medical center that doesn't admit Ebola patients. However, CNN reported that he may have provided medical centers at several other hospitals in the region, where he may have come in contact with Ebola patients.
It was clear that Salia knew the risks of returning to his native Sierra Leone for work during the epidemic, which is the largest Ebola outbreak in history. Salia's son, Maada, told CBS affiliate WJZ over the weekend:
Salia is the 10th person to be treated for Ebola in the United States, and only the second person to die from the disease here. Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian national who arrived in Dallas in late September, was the first Ebola patient to die on U.S. soil.Images: Getty Images (2)