American Ebola patient arrives in Nebraska for treatment

Posted at 6:49 AM, Sep 05, 2014
Univ. of Massachusetts staff photo of Dr. Rick Sacra, 51.

Univ. of Massachusetts staff photo of Dr. Rick Sacra, 51.

(CNN) – Another American doctor infected with the deadly Ebola virus has arrived home for treatment in the United States.

A plane carrying Dr. Rick Sacra landed Friday morning in Omaha, Nebraska, and then was taken to Omaha’s Nebraska Medical Center, center spokeswoman Jenny Nowatzke said.

Sacra, the third American with the Ebola virus to return to the United States for treatment, was stationed in Liberia when he was exposed to the virus.

His wife, Debbie Sacra, said he was “clearly sick” but was in “good spirits” and was able to walk onto the plane in Liberia before the flight to Nebraska. “We are really encouraged by that news and are looking forward to reuniting with him,” she said.

The physician was admitted to an Ebola case management center last weekend near a hospital in Monrovia where he has served for 15 years.

“Rick was receiving excellent care from our SIM/ELWA staff in Liberia at our Ebola 2 Care Center,” said Bruce Johnson, president of SIM USA, the aid organization for which Sacra works. “They all love and admire him deeply. However, the Nebraska Medical Center provides advanced monitoring equipment and wider availability of treatment options.”

Sacra, who is from Holden, Massachusetts, was not treating Ebola patients directly. Instead, he was delivering babies at a general hospital in Monrovia, Johnson said.

“I am surrounded by friends and family and the body of Christ, who are a great encouragement and who are praying fervently for Rick’s recovery along with me,” his wife said in a statement. “We are trusting in God to be with Rick and us through this difficult circumstance.

“Rick would want me to urge you to remember that there are many people in Liberia who are suffering in this epidemic and others who are not receiving standard health care because clinics and hospitals have been forced to close. West Africa is on the verge of a humanitarian crisis, and the world needs to respond compassionately and generously.”

Sacra had been to Liberia with SIM before, and volunteered to go again after he heard fellow missionaries Nancy Writebol and Dr. Kent Brantly had contracted the virus, Johnson said. Brantly and Writebol were flown to Atlanta last month for treatment at Emory University Hospital and have since been released.

Sacra started to show symptoms of hemorrhagic fever on August 29. Health care workers did an Ebola test on him Monday, which came back positive for the deadly virus.

Sacra was following all protocols and taking necessary precautions against Ebola, Johnson said. It is unclear how he became infected, but SIM is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to determine the point of contact.