A surgeon judged to be in “extremely critical condition” with the Ebola virus traveled from his native Sierra Leone and arrived at Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha on Saturday.
According to a CNN report, the family of Dr. Martin Salia has identified him as the patient. Salia, a legal permanent resident of the United States, is married to a U.S. citizen.
“This is an hour-by-hour situation,” Dr. Phil Smith, medical director of the Biocontainment Unit at Nebraska Medical Center, said in a statement. “He is extremely ill. We have multiple highly-trained specialists who are experts in their fields targeting his most serious medical issues.”
CNN states it received confirmation of a flight landing with a patient having Ebola arriving at 3:51 p.m. local time on Saturday.
Salia, who reportedly has worked in both New Carrollton, Maryland and at a Methodist hospital in Sierra Leone, is believed to be in worse condition than other patients who have been treated successfully in the U.S.
“He doesn’t think of himself as someone important,” his son, Maada Salia, told local CNN affiliate WJZ. “He puts himself down and helps those who really need help.”
“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… because he doesn’t know who has the virus,” his son added.
According to CNN, an unidentified U.S. State Department official said in a statement that Salia’s transport to the U.S. was requested by his wife who has agreed to reimburse the government for the expense, though the cost is not known.
Nebraska Medical Center is one of four hospitals in the U.S. equipped with Biocontainment units and prepared to manage highly infectious patients. Two Americans with Ebola were successfully treated at the medical center: Rick Sacra, who was discharged in September, and NBC cameraman Ashoka Mukpo, who was discharged in October.
CNN cites a statement by G20 leaders meeting in Brisbane, Australia, who said member nations would “do what is necessary to ensure the international effort can extinguish the outbreak,” and “expedite the effective and targeted disbursement of funds and other assistance.”