US surgeon working in Sierra Leone flying back for treatment for Ebola
(CNN) — A surgeon who’s a Sierra Leone national and a legal permanent resident of the United States will be transported from Sierra Leone to The Nebraska Medical Center for treatment for Ebola, a government official familiar with the situation said.
The doctor is expected to arrive this weekend, most likely Saturday, the official said.
The official said it’s not known whether the doctor was working in an Ebola treatment unit or some other type of hospital. The surgeon is married to a U.S. citizen and has children, the official said.
Sierra Leone has seen more than 5,300 cases of Ebola and more than 1,100 deaths in this year’s outbreak of the deadly virus, according to figures from the World Health Organization.
The Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha is one of four hospitals in the United States that have biocontainment units and years of preparation in handling highly infectious disease such as Ebola.
Doctors there have already treated two American Ebola patients. Dr. Rick Sacra was treated at the hospital and released in September. Ashoka Mukpo, a freelance cameraman who worked for NBC, was treated there and released last month.
Sacra and Mukpo contracted the virus in Liberia and were later flown to the United States for treatment.
So far, the limited number of Ebola cases treated in the United States have shown a higher survival rate than cases treated in West Africa.
A number of factors could impact the latest patient’s treatment, CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta told “AC360.”
“We don’t know how sick he is. We don’t know what stage of the disease he is (in),” Gupta said.
The fact that doctors have decided to transport him gives some indication of his condition, Gupta said.
“Just the simple act of transporting somebody from West Africa to the United States, the person’s got to be medically stable enough as well,” Gupta said. “So the fact that they’re going to do that transport, that probably gives some idea of how he’s doing overall in terms of stability.”