Ebola-stricken Sierra Leone surgeon dies in Nebraska hospital

Ebola Outbreak

Martin Salia In this April 2014 file photo,  Dr. Martin Salia poses for a photo at the United Methodist Church’s Kissy Hospital outside Freetown, Sierra Leone. . (AP Photo: United Methodist News Service, Mike DuBose, File)

A surgeon who contracted Ebola in his native Sierra Leone died Monday while being treated in a bio-containment unit at a Nebraska hospital. Nebraska Medical Center said that Dr. Martin Salia died as a result of the disease shortly after 4 a.m. CST Monday.

Dr. Salia: the surgeon

(AP Photo: United Methodist News Service, Mike DuBose)

(AP Photo: United Methodist News Service, Mike DuBose)

The 44-year-old Salia had been working as a general surgeon at Kissy United Methodist Hospital in the Sierra Leone capital of Freetown. It’s not clear whether he was involved in the care of Ebola patients. Kissy is not an Ebola treatment unit, but Salia worked in at least three other facilities, United Methodist News said, citing health ministry sources.

Salia, a Sierra Leone citizen who lived in Maryland, first showed Ebola symptoms on Nov. 6 but tested negative for the virus. He eventually tested positive on Nov. 10.

Martin Salia: the patient

(AP Photo: Nati Harnik)

(AP Photo: Nati Harnik)

Salia arrived Saturday to be treated at the Omaha hospital, where two other Ebola patients have been successfully treated.

“Dr. Salia was extremely critical when he arrived here, and unfortunately, despite our best efforts, we weren’t able to save him,” said Dr. Phil Smith, medical director of the bio-containment unit.

Salia had advanced symptoms when he arrived at the hospital, which included kidney and respiratory failure. He was placed on dialysis, a ventilator and given several medications to support his organ systems.

“We used every possible treatment available to give Dr. Salia every possible opportunity for survival,” Smith said. “As we have learned, early treatment with these patients is essential. In Dr. Salia’s case, his disease was already extremely advanced by the time he came here for treatment.”

Salia’s wife, Isatu Salia, said Monday that she and her family were grateful for the efforts made by her husband’s medical team.

“We are so appreciative of the opportunity for my husband to be treated here and believe he was in the best place possible,” Salia said.

This story was compiled using information from the Associated Press.