Latest American Ebola Patient Arrives in Nebraska for Treatment

Dr. Richard Sacra was infected while treating pregnant women in Liberia.

ByABC News
September 5, 2014, 7:16 AM

— -- The latest American doctor to be infected with Ebola in West Africa has arrived in the United States for treatment, authorities said.

Dr. Rick Sacra, 51, arrived in Nebraska today, with his plane landing at Offutt Air Force Base near Omaha. He was wheeled into University of Nebraska Medical Center on a gurney.

Sacra was treating pregnant women in the ELWA Hospital in Monrovia, Liberia, when he became infected with the deadly virus, according to SIM, an international, interdenominational Christian organization based in Charlotte, North Carolina.

“I just had a call from the doctor who put Rick on a plane to come to the United States,” his wife, Debbie Sacra, said at a news conference, her voice breaking. “He said that Rick is clearly sick, but that he was in very good spirits.

“He walked onto the plane, so we are really encouraged by that news and looking forward to reuniting with him,” she added.

Sacra, an assistant professor at University of Massachusetts Medical School, was not treating Ebola patients in the hospital’s separate Ebola isolation facility, the group said, adding that it was unclear how he contracted the virus. All infected U.S. health workers were working at the ELWA hospital when they contracted the virus.

He was isolated in the ELWA Ebola ward after becoming infected.

Sacra specializes in family medicine and practices in Worcester, Massachusetts, but he traveled to Liberia in August.

“I knew he needed to go,” Debbie Sacra said, adding that he knew there was a risk he would contract Ebola but he wanted to help people with malaria and pregnant women amid the outbreak.

“He is not someone who can stand back when there is a need that he can take care of,” she said.

Sacra is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Medical School and spent nearly two decades working in Liberia, according to the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Sacra’s colleagues at the medical school called him a “gifted physician” who took on extra work to treat pregnant women in the rural country.