Dr. being treated for Ebola in Nebraska dies

NebraskaEbola

By The LA Times

Dr. Martin Salia, who contracted Ebola in Sierra Leone and was being treated at a Nebraska hospital, has died, a hospital spokesman confirmed Monday.

“It is with an extremely heavy heart that we share this news,” Dr. Phil Smith, medical director of the biocontainment unit at Omaha’s Nebraska Medical Center, said in a statement. “Dr. Salia was extremely critical when he arrived here, and unfortunately, despite our best efforts, we weren’t able to save him.”

Salia was a member of the Church of the United Bretheren in Christ and was working as a surgeon at Kissy United Methodist Hospital in Freetown, Sierra Leone, treating Ebola patients as the disease spread in West Africa. He was a citizen of Sierra Leone and has family in the U.S., according to a church spokesman.

In a statement, the Nebraska hospital said Salia’s Ebola symptoms were very advanced by the time he arrived there on Saturday and that he was already in kidney and respiratory failure. His treatment included dialysis, blood plasma from Ebola survivors and the anti-Ebola drug ZMapp, the hospital said.

“We used every possible treatment available,” Smith said in the statement.

Salia’s wife, Isatu Salia, said in the statement that she was “very grateful” for the hospital’s efforts.

The doctor was the 10th patient in the U.S. to receive treatment for Ebola, and the second to die of the disease on American soil. The Nebraska Medical Center contains a specialized biocontainment unit and had successfully treated two other patients with Ebola.

Salia’s wife, an American citizen who lives in Maryland, had told the official news service of the Methodist Church that she was paying $200,000 to have her husband flown to the U.S. for care, and that she was trying to raise more to travel to Nebraska with the couple’s two sons, who are 12 and 20 years old.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest on Monday offered condolences on behalf of the Obama administration.

“A general surgeon, Dr. Salia dedicated his life to saving others. He viewed this vocation as his calling, telling fellow United Methodist Church members that he pursued medicine not because he wanted to, but because he firmly believed it was God’s will for him,” Earnest said in a statement.

He added, “Dr. Salia’s passing is another reminder of the human toll of this disease and of the continued imperative to tackle this epidemic on the frontlines.”

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