A Maryland doctor who was working amid the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone died of the disease on Monday at a Nebraska hospital.
On Saturday, Dr. Martin Salia — a Sierra Leone native — was flown back to the US for treatment at Nebraska Medical Center and arrived in critical condition, already experiencing kidney and respiratory failure. He was placed on life support, and given the experimental drug ZMapp and a plasma transfusion from the blood of an Ebola survivor.
Still, Dr. Salia died just after 4 a.m. Monday morning, leaving behind a wife and two sons.
Local newspapers are writing about the remarkable courage Dr. Salia had to be working in West Africa, which is currently battling the worst Ebola epidemic in history. His son, Maada Salia, said this to CBS Baltimore:
"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. 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."
"He doesn't think of himself as someone important. He puts himself down and helps those who really need help."
Dr. Salia is the second Ebola patient to die in the US and the only patient not to leave the Nebraska containment facility alive.
The epidemic continues to rage in Sierra Leone, the only one of the three most-affected countries where Ebola cases have showed no sign of slow down.
The case load appears to have fallen or stabilized in Guinea and Liberia in recent weeks. But Ebola cases in Sierra Leone, where Dr. Salia was treating patients, are still increasing.
To date, more than 5,000 people have died in this epidemic and more than 14,000 have become infected with the virus. This epidemic has also claimed the lives of more than 300 health workers.