Surgeon with Ebola coming to US for care

FILE – In this Oct. 28, 2006, file photo, a mock patient is wheeled in an isolation pod during a drill at the Nebraska biocontainment unit in the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, Neb. A federal government source said Thursday, Nov. 13, 2014, a surgeon working in West Africa’s Sierra Leone has been diagnosed with Ebola and will be flown to the United States for treatment on Saturday, Nov. 15, 2014. The doctor will be treated at the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik, File)

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (AP) — A surgeon working in Sierra Leone has been diagnosed with Ebola and will be flown Saturday to the United States for treatment, officials from Sierra Leone and the United States said.

Dr. Martin Salia was to be taken to Omaha to be treated at the Nebraska Medical Center, Sierra Leone’s chief medical officer, Dr. Brima Kargbo, told The Associated Press on Friday. The U.S. Embassy in Freetown said Salia himself was paying for the expensive evacuation. He reportedly lives in Maryland.

The U.S. State Department said Thursday that Salia’s wife, who also lives in Maryland, has asked the State Department to investigate whether he is well enough to be flown to Nebraska.

Salia is a general surgeon who had been working at Kissy United Methodist Hospital in the Sierra Leone capital of Freetown. Patients, including mothers who hours earlier had given birth, fled from the 60-bed hospital after news of the Ebola case emerged, United Methodist News reported.

The hospital was closed on Tuesday after Salia tested positive and he was taken to the Hastings Ebola Treatment Center near Freetown, the church news service said. Kissy hospital staffers will be quarantined for 21 days.

A Sierra Leone citizen, the 44-year-old lives in Maryland and is a permanent U.S. resident, according to a person in the United States with direct knowledge of the situation. The person was not authorized to release the information and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The doctor will be the third Ebola patient at the Omaha hospital and the 10th person with Ebola to be treated in the U.S. The last, Dr. Craig Spencer, was released from a New York hospital on Tuesday.

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