I guess this is just Good News Sunday, eh? On the odd chance that you didn’t have enough to worry about, the next Doctor diagnosed with Ebola has arrived in Nebraska.
Dr. Martin Salia, a Sierra Leonean surgeon diagnosed with Ebola, arrived at Eppley Airfield in Omaha, Nebraska at 2:45 p.m. local time on Saturday, November 15th, to be treated for the deadly virus.
Salia, 44, is an American citizen who contracted Ebola while working at a hospital outside Freetown, Sierra Leone, reports Reuters. He was officially diagnosed with the disease at Freetown United Methodist Church’s Kissy Hospital, where he was chief medical officer, last Tuesday. His wife, a United States citizen residing in Maryland with the couple’s two children, requested his evacuation to the United States and plans to pay for his medical evaluation, which may run up to $100,000, reports ABC News.
Unlike some of the previous health workers who were whisked away at the first sign of problems, Dr. Salia was described as being “too ill to walk off the plane on his own” when he arrived in the United States. It sounds like we’ve been learning our lessons, and the doctor was transferred under maximum containment conditions. So are we ready this time? We’ve avoided any widespread outbreaks so far, but as we previously discussed, there are questions in the nursing community as to whether or not our medical personnel are sufficiently protected.
Nebraska, for their part, feels that the right resources are in place.
Dr. Phil Smith, medical director of the Biocontainment Unit at Nebraska Medical Center, said in a press release that health officials are prepared to treat Dr. Salia swiftly. “We’ve obviously been through this a couple of times before so we know what to expect. Our staff has had a break since treating our last patient, so I know we’re ready to go.”…
Previously, the Nebraska clinic had treated Dr. Rick Sacra and Ashoka Mukpo, a doctor and freelance videographer, respectively, who had both contracted the virus while working in Liberia. Both successfully recovered in the hospital’s Biocontainment Unit and were released, disease-free, earlier in the fall.
If there is any good news to be found here, it’s that there will be no questions of voluntary quarantines, bowling excursions, bike rides or the like. Once a patient is locked down in isolation, our track record is pretty good, with nine of ten patients surviving and being released after testing as Ebola free. And if the staff there sticks to isolation protocols while treating Dr. Salia, this may be yet another situation which remains in the bubble. We have less to learn from this in terms of medical knowledge and protocols than we do in how we deal with those who are potential incubators and how they interact with the public.
Prayers for Dr. Scalia for a full and complete recovery and for all the staff treating him to keep the lid on this.