Today’s report is one of sadness. You will remember I told you that another doctor in Sierra Leone contracted ebola. Dr. Martin Salia is a surgeon, and interestingly, has a green card (permanent U.S. resident) and is married to an American, though chooses to live in Sierra Leone to serve people. Another real hero!
Dr. Salia is the physician I was informed of last week as suspected of having ebola, by Dr. Michael Morlai Kamara, one of the doctors trained by Dr. Robins and me. The first two tests came back negative. I suggested immediate treatment of Dr. Salia to Dr. Michael, regardless, as there would be no risk and great potential gain. A third test did confirm ebola. Dr. Salia was taken to the Hasting ebola center near Freetown (the center I had visited).
Dr. Kamara traveled by bus to Hastings to meet with Dr. Salia and informed him of the possibility of ozone treatment. This was VERY brave of Dr. Kamara. Dr. Salia warmly and respectfully thanked Dr. Kamara for his efforts, but declined to receive treatment. I learned on the news about 12 hours later that aircraft would evacuate him to Nebraska for treatment in the USA. This evening, the news sadly reports that he is in critical condition, and perhaps worse off than other ebola patients treated in the USA. I am very blue about this. Dr. Salia clearly is a servant of humanity, and, in his service, contracted a terrible disease. He will be in my prayers tonight. But additional, and concerning, aspects of his story are important to share with you.
I spoke with Dr. Kojo Carew about this case as soon as I learned about it. My first question was, “Had Dr. Salia been treating ebola patients?” You can imagine my need to know the answer. Dr Carew said “No.”
“OMG! Then he had to contract it by doing his routine surgery on a patient who was infected but without any symptoms,” I replied. Dr. Carew replied, “That is exactly how it seems.”
Folks, this is worrisome for all doctors in West Africa. Dr. Salia evidently contracted ebola from a routine patient not suspected of having ebola. That patient would not have been causally infectious to others at that state, but in a surgery, where blood splatters, an asymptomatic patient can transmit the disease. And for this I am deeply concerned about all doctors in West Africa, who now will be faced with their own life and death reality in accepting any patients. For me, this is all the more reason to get the ozone show on the road! Dr. Carew will be working hard now to institute ozone therapy for all doctors at potential risk in Sierra Leone, whether or not at the front line. I am currently at the meeting of the American College for Advancement in Medicine, where Dr. Silvia Menendez of Cuba, an international authority on ozone therapy, showed us that prophylactic treatment with ozone in animals up to 5 days in advance of a bacterial toxin shock effectively protected the animals from death. This is why both Dr. Robins and I loaded up on ozone therapy before, during and after our trip to Sierra Leone.
This case is also is of concern to me for possible transmission of the disease in general. I will post for you my report on the termination of my quarantine on Sunday or Monday. (It ended Friday with a lot of fun, which I’ll share with you.) However, the case of Dr. Salia tells me that our authorities are rightly monitoring travelers from West Africa. I did not knowingly come in contact with an ebola patient, or go into the containment unit, but neither did Dr. Salia. The difference between Dr. Salia and my activities was that he was doing invasive procedures on patients involving bodily fluids. The closest I got was sticking a needle through dry skin. It strongly appears that transmission of ebola requires close contact with an actively infectious person. The general ebola patient is not casually contagious until symptoms manifest and the virus begins shedding in all body fluids. This case shows infectiveness before this extent of progression, but by requiring exposure to internal body fluids, as within a surgery.
Nevertheless, the government was right to monitor me, which I’ll elaborate on in my next report to you. Until then, please join me in positive thoughts/prayers for the recovery of Dr. Martin Salia from his life threatening challenge with ebola.