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Ebola-striken surgeon dies at Nebraska hospital

An Ebola-stricken surgeon who was working in West Africa and was transported to a Nebraska hospital for treatment died early Monday, a hospital official confirmed.

Dr. Martin Salia, 44, was in “extremely critical” condition when he was admitted to a biocontainment unit at the Nebraska Medical Center on Saturday. He had been working at the Kissy United Methodist Hospital in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

“Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, we weren’t able to save him,” said Dr. Phil Smith, in a statement. “We used every possible treatment available to give Dr. Salia every possible opportunity for survival.”

“As we have learned, early treatment with these patients is essential,” he said. “In Dr. Salia’s case, his disease was already extremely advanced by the time he came here for treatment.”

Salia died shortly after 4 a.m. Monday, hospital spokesman Taylor Wilson said. Salia is the second patient to die from Ebola in the United States. Thomas Eric Duncan was the country’s first patient who died in October at a Dallas hospital after being evacuated from Liberia.

Advanced symptoms included kidney and respiratory failure, the statement said, adding that Salia was placed on kidney dialysis, and received a plasma transfusion from an Ebola survivor and a dose from experimental drug ZMapp. Salia was the third Ebola patient to be treated in the Omaha hospital.

It’s not immediately clear how Salia contracted the deadly virus. As The New York Times notes, the five other doctors in Sierra Leone that have been infected with Ebola have died.

To date, Ebola has claimed at least 5,000 people in West Africa, with most of the cases in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, the World Health Organization reported. Salia, a Sierra Leone citizen and Maryland resident, was the United States’ 10th known patient, the Associated Press reported.

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