The doctor who will be treated for Ebola at a Nebraska hospital knew the risks of working in West Africa but was committed to doing his part, his son told NBC News.
Martin Salia, a general surgeon, contracted the virus in his native Sierra Leone and will be flown to Omaha on Saturday, which would make him the 10th Ebola patient on American soil. His wife and two children live in the D.C. suburb of New Carrollton, Maryland, and Salia is a legal U.S. resident.
"He’s a really good guy. Somebody who doesn’t take himself like a high person," said Salia’s 20-year-old son, Maada. "He loves helping whoever in need … and he always sacrifice(s) just to make sure someone else feels happy."
The family is in the process of making arrangements to fly to Nebraska to be with Salia. "He is our dad, and without him seeing his family, it’s like more pain to him," Maada Salia said. "Hopefully, we’re going to be there to show him the support that he needs."
Dr. Salia had regularly traveled from West Africa to the U.S. to see his family, but was living in Sierra Leone to work at the Kissy United Methodist Hospital and help those being ravaged by the current Ebola outbreak. "Even though he knows the sickness is already out, he decided to still go and help his people because he wanted to show that he loves his people," said Maada Salia, adding, "He’s really, really a hero to me."
Nine people have been treated for Ebola in the United States so far, and one of them — Liberian native Thomas Eric Duncan — has died. The last person to be treated, New York City Dr. Craig Spencer, was infected while volunteering in Guinea. He was released from a hospital Tuesday after being declared Ebola-free. The outbreak has killed more than 5,100 people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
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