A surgeon who contracted Ebola while working in Sierra Leone arrived in Nebraska today for treatment at a biocontainment unit where two other people with the disease have been successfully treated. Dr. Martin Salia, who was diagnosed with Ebola on Monday, landed at Eppley Airfield in Omaha this afternoon and was being transported to the Nebraska Medical Center. The hospital said the medical crew transporting Salia, 44, determined he was stable enough to fly, but it said that information from the team caring for him in Sierra Leone indicated he was critically ill and "possibly sicker than the first patients successfully treated in the United States."
Salia was working as a general surgeon at Kissy United Methodist Hospital in the Sierra Leone capital of Freetown. Kissy is not an Ebola treatment unit, but Salia worked in at least three other facilities, United Methodist News said, citing health ministry sources. The US state department said it was helping facilitate his transfer. Salia's wife, Isatu Salia, said in a telephone interview that when she spoke to her husband early yesterday, his voice sounded weak and shaky. But he told her "I love you" in a steady voice, she said. The two prayed together, and their children, ages 12 and 20, are coping, Isatu Salia said. Salia is a Sierra Leone citizen who lives in Maryland. (Read more Ebola stories.)