Updated 10:06 PM EST, Fri, Jan 22, 2021

Ebola Outbreak 2014 News Update: Nebraska Surgeon in 'Extremely Critical' Condition

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Dr. Martin Salia, the surgeon who contracted Ebola while caring for patients infected with the virus in Sierra Leone, is in extremely critical condition, Fox News reports.

According to Dr. Phil Smith, the leader of Nebraska Medical Center's biocontainment unit caring for Salia, the doctor is "extremely ill" and they are "using the maximum amount of supportive care possible in an effort to save his life," Fox News noted. The hospital also stated that Salia's condition might be worse than the first Ebola patients treated in the U.S.

"He is extremely ill," Smith said in a statement, as quoted by Fox News. "We have multiple highly-trained specialists who are experts in their fields targeting his most serious medical issues."

"Ebola produces symptoms that can obviously create a life-threatening situation for the patient. But he couldn't be surrounded by a more caring, compassionate and talented group of people. We will do everything humanly possible to help him fight this disease," the statement reads.

Salia, 44, was a general surgeon at Kissy United Methodist Hospital in the Sierra Leone capital of Freetown, and also worked in at least three other facilities, Fox News stated. He first started exhibiting symptoms of the deadly virus in Nov. 6, but only tested positive for Ebola later on.

Salia was transported from West Africa to Omaha, Nebraska via plane. He was later brought to the hospital through an ambulance accompanied by a single Nebraska State Patrol cruiser and a fire department vehicle, Fox News further reports.

"Salia is a Sierra Leone citizen who lives in Maryland with permanent U.S. residency," according to an additional report from CBS News.

Sierra Leone is one of Ebola's hot zones in West Africa, alongside Guinea and Liberia. Five other doctors contracted and died of the disease in Sierra Leone, CBS News noted.

Salia's wife, Isatu Salia, said that her husband's voice sounded weak and shaky when they spoke Friday. "But he told her 'I love you' in a steady voice, she said," according to Fox News.

Salia added that she and her husband prayed together, calling him "my everything." The couple's children, aged 12 and 20, are coping, Fox News noted. Taylor Wilson, spokesman of Nebraska Medical Center, said that Salia's family is expected to arrive in the hospital "in the near future."

His colleagues, on the other hand, describe Salia as "one of the best-trained surgeons in the country," CBS News reports.

"People like Martin are just absolutely dedicated, highly trained... and doing their best in absolutely horrifying conditions," said Bruce Steffes, executive director of Pan African Academy of Christian Surgeons or PAACS, where Salia received his surgical training.

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