Ebola Patient's Wife Will Pay for Evacuation to Nebraska

PHOTO: Health workers in protective suits transport Dr. Martin Salia, Nov. 15, 2014.PlayNati Harnik/AP Photo
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The wife of an Ebola-infected patient will pay for his medical evacuation from Sierra Leone to Nebraska, a bill that will likely be more than $100,000.

Isatu Salia, a U.S. resident, will cover the cost of transporting her husband Dr. Martin Salia, according to a U.S. Department of State press release.

Martin Salia is a permanent resident in the U.S. who was working at Kissy United Methodist Hospital in the Sierra Leone capital of Freetown when he became infected.

PHOTO: Dr. Martin Salia (right) visits with Bishop John K. Yambasu Mike DuBose/UMNS
Dr. Martin Salia (right) visits with Bishop John K. Yambasu

The Department of State is facilitating the evacuation at the request of Isatu Salia "who has agreed to reimburse the U.S. Government for any expense," according to the press release.

The U.S. government will not traditionally pay for medical evacuations of private U.S. citizens and estimates the use of a private air ambulance charter can cost $100,000 or more.

Martin Salia was infected with the Ebola virus when he was treating patients in Sierra Leone, one of the three countries hardest hit by the virus that has infected more than 14,000 and killed at least 5,177.

He arrived today at Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska where he will be treated at the center's biocontainment unit.

Already two other Ebola patients, a doctor and freelance videographer, have been treated for Ebola and released from the facility.

"We immediately started preparing the unit and notifying staff members of this possibility," said Dr. Phil Smith, medical director of the Biocontainment Unit said in a statement.

"We've obviously been through this a couple of times before so we know what to expect." Dr. Smith added, "Our staff has had a break since treating our last patient, so I know we're ready to go."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.