Maryland Doctor Who Contracted Ebola in Africa Dies

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Dr. Martin Salia becom
Dr. Martin Salia

The Maryland surgeon who contracted Ebola in Sierra Leone last week has died, doctors from the Nebraska Medical Center announced Monday.

Dr. Martin Salia, 44, died early Monday morning of cardiac arrest. At a press conference, doctors overseeing Salia’s treatment said he was very ill when he arrived to the medical center. Other patients have arrived on day 6 or 8 of showing symptoms of Ebola. But Salia arrived on day 13. At that point, he was unresponsive and struggling to breathe. His kidneys had also stopped functioning.

“We gave it everything we could,” said Dr. Daniel Johnson, Division Chief of Critical Care Anesthesiology. “Our staff worked around the clock to save him. He was given a dose of convalescent plasma and ZMapp therapy. We also tried dialysis and respiratory support.”

Salia, a Sierra Leone citizen whose family home is in New Carrollton, Maryland, contracted Ebola while treating patients in the West African nation’s capital of Freetown. He tested positive for Ebola a week ago, and was immediately transferred to the Nebraska Medical Center.

“We used every possible treatment available to give Dr. Salia every possible opportunity for survival,” said Dr. Phil Smith, medical director of the Biocontainment Unit at Nebraska Medical Center Smith. “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.”

President Barack Obama issued a statement, saying “Dr. Salia dedicated his life to saving others. He viewed this vocation as his calling.”

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