Dr. Martin Salia, the Maryland physician who contracted Ebola while working in Sierra Leone and was brought to Nebraska for emergency treatment on Saturday, died Monday. He was the second person to die from the disease in the United States; Thomas Eric Duncan died from the disease after traveling to Dallas from Liberia earlier this year.
Washington, D.C., CBS affiliate WNEW reports that Salia “was diagnosed with Ebola on Monday, arrived in Omaha on Saturday” and was treated at the Nebraska Medical Center’s “biocontainment unit that ha[d] successfully treated two other Ebola patients this fall.”
Dr. Phil Smith—the biocontainment unit’s medical director—said, “It is with an extremely heavy heart that we share this news,” according to NBC News. Salia “was extremely critical when he arrived here, and unfortunately, despite our best efforts, we weren’t able to save him.”
And according to WUSA, physicians at the medical center said that the 44-year-old Salia was in worse condition when he arrived in Omaha than “the two other Ebola patients they successfully treated this fall.”
Salia’s death comes after he initially tested negative for Ebola before taking a second test Nov. 10, which came back positive. As a Sunday Washington Post story explained, “The doctors who tended to him” in Sierra Leone “appeared to be unaware that an early Ebola test—taken within the first three days of the illness—is often inconclusive. In a country where information about the disease continues to move slowly, it was another potentially tragic mistake.”
A legal U.S. resident who was originally from Sierra Leone, Salia lived in New Carrollton, Md., with his wife and children. As NBC News reports, his son, Maada, said last week that Salia understood the risks involved in treating patients in his home country, but “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.
“He’s really, really a hero to me,” his son added.
Read more at NBC News.