Dr. Martin Salia, infected with Ebola in his native Sierra Leone, died Monday at Nebraska Medical Center. His doctors told a news conference that Salia was already very, very sick when he was flown to the United States.
His case illustrates what doctors have been saying: Early treatment matters. Salia was the 10th person treated in the United States for Ebola and only the second to die. In the West African epidemic, seven out of 10 patients are dying.
"We really, really gave it everything we could," said critical care specialist Dr. Dan Johnson.
Dr. Salia was extremely critically ill,” Johnson added. “He had no kidney function. He was working extremely hard to breathe and he was unresponsive.”
He was put on a ventilator and given dialysis, but his blood pressure plummeted. Mapp BioPharmaceutical, the California company that makes ZMapp, scraped up a dose of the experimental drug for Salia and he got that, as well as a transfusion of serum from an Ebola survivor. But despite those efforts and treatment with saline and other rehydration agents, he worsened and died Monday, the doctors said.
“I am very, very proud of the care we provided. I know that we gave him every possible chance to survive,” Johnson said. Two other patients treated at the center, medical missionary Dr. Rick Sacra and NBC freelance camera operator Ashoka Mukpo, survived.
Salia’s family asked for privacy. “We are saddened by the news of our dear brother, who was a husband, father, and friend,” the family said in a statement. Salia’s wife, Isatu Salia, lives in New Carrollton, Maryland.
Dr. Phil Smith, who led the treatment team, says there will be no autopsy because the body of someone who's died from Ebola is too infectious.
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-- Maggie Fox