After a few Ebola-free days, the United States has a new patient: Dr. Martin Salia arrived at Omaha’s Nebraska Medical Center on Saturday afternoon. Salia, originally from Sierra Leone, is a permanent resident of the United States and lives in Maryland. He contracted the virus while caring for people in his native country.
CNN reports that Salia’s wife, Isatu, asked the American government to evacuate her husband from Freetown. According to the State Department, she has agreed to reimburse them for the expense. “I don’t want him to be delayed over there. I’m worried for him,” she told CBS News on Friday. The couple’s son, Maada, added:
“They say we should keep calm and everything’s going to be OK. So far, he’s responding to treatment, so I have no doubt that everything will come out successfully.”
“He told us he knew the situation back home when this Ebola started. The fact that he would go back to his country and help is one thing that really amazed me because he showed the love that he has for his country,” his son said. “The fact that he left here and went back to his country, that made me worry a little bit, especially when he’s a doctor, and he treats patients because he doesn’t know who has the virus.”
The Nebraska Medical Center has already successfully treated two Ebola patients, Dr. Rick Sacra and NBC journalist Ashoka Mukpo, both of whom caught the disease in Liberia. However, according to the medical workers who were taking care of Salia in Sierra Leone, he may be sicker than the American patients were when they got to Omaha. “We’ve obviously been through this a couple of times before so we know what to expect,” said Dr. Phil Smith, the head of the hospital’s bio-containment unit. “Our staff has had a break since treating our last patient, so I know we’re ready to go.”