OMAHA, Nebraska — 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.