Dr. Martin Salia, a surgeon who was diagnosed with Ebola in Sierra Leone and flown to Nebraska over the weekend for treatment, has died, hospital officials said Monday.
Salia, 44, became the second person to die of the disease in the United States. Thomas Eric Duncan, who contracted Ebola in Liberia and traveled to Dallas, died last month.
Salia landed Saturday in Omaha. He was the 10th patient to be treated on American soil and the third at Nebraska Medical Center. Hospital officials had said that he was perhaps sicker than any other patient flown to the United States from West Africa.
“It is with an extremely heavy heart that we share this news,” said Dr. Phil Smith, medical director of the hospital’s biocontainment unit. “Dr. Salia was extremely critical when he arrived here, and unfortunately, despite our best efforts, we weren’t able to save him.”
The hospital planned to release further details later Monday.
Salia, a native of Sierra Leone and a legal U.S. resident, was living in Sierra Leone and working at a hospital when he was diagnosed last week. The Ebola outbreak, the worst in recorded history, has killed more than 5,000 people in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia.
Salia has a wife and two children who live in the Washington suburb of New Carrollton, Maryland. A son, Maada, told NBC News last week that Salia knew the risk of working in West Africa but wanted to do his part.
“Even though he knows the sickness is already out, he decided to still go and help his people because he wanted to show that he loves his people,” the son said. “He’s really, really a hero to me.”