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Sierra Leone loses sixth doctor

NOVEMBER 18, 2014 By Hassan Gbassay Koroma

RIP Dr. Martin Salia, sixth Sierra Leone surgeon to die of Ebola
RIP Dr. Martin Salia, sixth Sierra Leone surgeon to die of Ebola

Sierra Leone yesterday lost its sixth medical doctor to the deadly Ebola virus.

Dr. Martin Salia, 44, was flown to a bio-containment unit in Nebraska, United States of America, for treatment last Saturday.

He passed away yesterday as doctors failed in their bid to save his life.

He was reportedly in a critical condition when he arrived at the hospital in Omaha, Nebraska, unable to walk.

“We are extremely sorry to announce that the third patient we’ve cared for with the Ebola virus, Dr Martin Salia, has passed away as a result of the advanced symptoms of the disease,” said the Nebraska Medical Center in a statement.

“Dr. Salia was extremely critical when he arrived here, and unfortunately, despite out best efforts, we weren’t able to save him,” said Dr. Phil Smith, medical director of the bio-containment unit.

Dr. Salia was treated at the Omaha hospital, where two other Ebola patients (both Americans) were treated and discharged.

His death comes as a huge loss to the country, being the sixth Sierra Leonean doctor to lose his life while treating Ebola patients in the country.

The first doctor to have died was Dr. Sheik Umar Khan, whose death on 29 July 2014 shocked the entire country, as the country slowly came to terms with the magnitude of the outbreak which has infected more than 5,000, while recording in excess of 1,200 deaths.

The 44-year-old Dr. Salia had been working as a general surgeon at the United Methodist Hospital in Kissy, in the capital Freetown.

It’s not clear whether he was involved in the care of Ebola patients as the hospital is not an Ebola treatment unit, but he worked in at least three other facilities, United Methodist News said, citing health ministry sources.

Dr. Salia, a Sierra Leone citizen with permanent residency status in the United States, lived in Maryland with his American wife, Isatu, and children. He is said to have first showed Ebola symptoms on 6 November, but was tested negative for the virus until he eventually tested positive on 10 November.

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