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Ebola-Stricken Surgeon Dr. Martin Salia 'Extremely Critical'

A surgeon diagnosed with Ebola in Sierra Leone is in an "extremely critical condition," doctors treating him in Nebraska said Sunday.
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A surgeon diagnosed with Ebola in Sierra Leone remained in "extremely critical condition" Sunday night, said doctors who are hoping to save him with experimental drugs at a Nebraska hospital.

A jet carrying Dr. Martin Salia landed in Omaha on Saturday, making him the 10th Ebola patient to be treated on U.S. soil and the third treated at Nebraska Medical Center.

"He's extremely ill, possibly even more ill than any of the patients who have been transported from Western Africa to the United States," said Taylor Wilson, a spokesman for Nebraska Medical Center. Dr. Phil Smith, medical director of the hospital's biocontainment unit, said: "This is an hour-by-hour situation."

Salia was taken off the plane on a stretcher, loaded onto a gurney encased in a plastic bubble and placed on an ambulance by workers who wore yellow protective suits.

Salia, a native of Sierra Leone and a legal U.S. resident, was living in that country and working at a hospital when he was diagnosed Monday. Salia's wife, who lives in the Washington, D.C., suburb of New Carrollton, arrived Sunday in Omaha. Salia's son told NBC News that his dad knew the risks of working in West Africa but was committed to doing his part.

"He decided to work in Sierra Leone because he found out that was his true calling," Maada Salia said. "He's really, really a hero to me."

The Ebola outbreak, the worst in recorded history, has killed more than 5,000 people in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia.


— Alastair Jamieson and Maggie Fox