OMAHA, Neb. (CBS) — A doctor who contracted Ebola while treating patients with the disease in Sierra Leone died Monday morning, according to officials at the Nebraska hospital where he was being treated.
A spokesman for the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha said Dr. Martin Salia was in critical condition when he first arrived for treatment Saturday.
Salia, 44, became the second patient being treated in the United States to die. He contracted Ebola in his native West African country and was brought back to the U.S. for treatment.
According to a medical center spokesman, Salia showed advanced symptoms of the disease when he came to the hospital, including kidney and respiratory failure.
Doctors tried using medication and other experimental drugs to treat Salia. He also received a plasma transfusion from an Ebola survivor.
Dr. Rick Sacra of Holden, who was cured of Ebola that same facility, told WBZ NewsRadio 1030 last week he knew Dr. Salia personally, calling him well-trained and highly skilled.
“The trouble is that each time West Africa loses one of these doctors, these are people you can’t just go and find a replacement for,” Sacra said.
“He’s probably one of five or ten in Sierra Leone with his expertise and training.”
In a video uploaded to YouTube prior to his death, Dr. Salia explained why he was going to West Africa to treat Ebola patients.
“I took this job not because I wanted to but I firmly believe that it was a calling, and that God wanted me to and that’s why I strongly believe that God brought me here to fix whatever comes my way, and I’m pretty sure, I’m confident, I have to lean on him, trust him, for whatever comes here because he sent me here, and that’s my passion,” he said.
So far, ten people have been treated for Ebola in the United States. All but two have survived.
Doctors stress the importance of early treatment.
The two men who died, Thomas Duncan and Dr. Salia, both had advanced symptoms of the disease when they were first treated.
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