Ebola patient being treated in Nebraska has died

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Dr. Martin Salia

(CNN) — A doctor who spent time treating Ebola patients in West Africa died from the virus Monday. The death of Dr. Martin Salia, who contracted Ebola in Sierra Leone, marks the second time Ebola has claimed a victim in the United States.

Salia died at around 5 a.m. ET Monday, according to Nebraska Medicine spokesman Taylor Wilson.

A legal permanent resident of the United States, Salia was treating patients in West Africa when he contracted the virus.

Salia arrived Saturday at Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. The hospital tweeted Monday that he was “extremely critical” when his treatment began and “unfortunately, despite our best efforts, we weren’t able to save him.”

Salia was suffering from advanced symptoms of Ebola, including kidney and respiratory failure, health officials said.

The first Ebola patient to die in the United States was Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian national who traveled to Texas in September from that West African country that, like Sierra Leone and Guinea, has been hit the hardest by the Ebola epidemic.

Duncan, 42, died at a Dallas hospital. He initially went to the same facility’s emergency room after he began having symptoms, but he was misdiagnosed and sent home. Two days later, he was back in the hospital, where he tested positive for the virus and his treatment began.

It is rare for someone to die in the United States from Ebola because medical and monetary resources are extensive — much more so than in West Africa.

When Salia was in Sierra Leone, the team caring for him characterized him as critical ill, possibly sicker than patients treated successfully in the United States, according to Nebraska health officials.

Salia’s wife, a Maryland resident, pushed to get him evacuated from Sierra Leone, the U.S. State Department said. An air ambulance crew evaluated him in Freetown and determined he was well enough to travel.

3 comments

  • Neal Haralson

    There is absolutely no need to continue bringing these folks back to the US – they went over to care for ebola patients, fully understanding the risk this disease presents to the American public should it spread. It is a zero-gain bringing them back – their families will sue the US. It wastes tax dollars in flying them back on special flights and the mortality rate from what I see appears to be about the same as that if they had stayed in the country where the disease was contracted from.

    • Megan

      The likelihood of an ebola epidemic in a developed nation like the US is extremely unlikely. We have the infrastructure and resources to handle cases so they do not become epidemics. As a US citizen I am proud that we show compassion to our fellow citizens. I am sure you wouldn’t want to be left to die in West Africa, nor would you want this for anyone you cared about. We should not punish the bravest among us for having the courage and compassion to do something most wouldn’t. And you couldn’t be more wrong about the mortality rate– in Africa it is upwards of 65-70%. If I am not mistaken, we have treated 11 ebola patients in the US and 2 have died– that is a morality rate of about 18%, so I would not say that “it appears to be about the same as that if they had stayed in the country where the disease was contracted from”. I would certainly want to come by to the US for treatment if my chances for survival were quadruple here in the US.

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