A surgeon who contracted Ebola in his native Sierra Leone died yesterday while being treated in a specialist unit at a Nebraska hospital.
Dr Martin Salia died of the disease shortly after 4am, a spokesman for the Nebraska Medical Center said.
The medical director of the biocontainment unit, Dr Phil Smith, said: “Dr Salia was extremely critical when he arrived here, and unfortunately, despite our best efforts, we weren’t able to save him.”
Dr Salia, 44, arrived at the hospital on Saturday; his symptoms included kidney and respiratory failure, the hospital said. He was placed on dialysis and a ventilator and given the experimental drug, ZMapp. He also received a plasma transfusion from an Ebola survivor – a treatment that is believed to provide antibodies to fight the virus.
“We used every possible treatment available to give Dr Salia every possible opportunity for survival,” Dr 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.”
Two other Ebola patients have been successfully treated at the Omaha hospital. Of 10 people to be treated for the disease in the United States, all but two have recovered. Thomas Eric Duncan, of Liberia, died at a Dallas hospital in October.
Dr Salia had been working as a general surgeon at the United Methodist Church’s Kissy Hospital in Freetown, Sierra Leone’s capital. He first showed Ebola symptoms on 6 November but tested negative for the virus. He eventually tested positive on 10 November.
Dr Salia’s wife, Isatu Salia, said yesterday 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,” Ms Salia said.
Ebola has killed more than 5,000 people in West Africa, mostly in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.
Five other doctors in Sierra Leone have contracted Ebola, and all have died.