Doctor who died from Ebola 'had calling from God'
Posted November 17, 2014
Fayetteville, N.C. — A doctor who has died after contracting Ebola in Sierra Leone is being remembered as a man who went beyond his obligation to treat the sick in the West African nation.
Dr. Bruce Steffes, executive director of the Pan-African Academy of Christian Surgeons, helped train Dr. Martin Salia, who passed away Monday at a Nebraska hospital.
Salia was a product of the Fayetteville-based organization in which members travel to Africa to train surgeons. In return, the doctors commit to one year on the continent for every year of training they receive.
Steffes' said Salia, who was responsible for more 600,000 patients in Sierra Leone, fulfilled his agreement two years ago but stayed because of a calling from God.
"What many people would do is set up practice in a big city and go for the money and go for the glory that he could get and be, essentially, wealthy," Steffes said. "But instead, he chose to continue to serve."
Steffes last spoke to Salia about a month ago, he said.
The 44-year-old, a native of Sierra Leone who was a permanent U.S. citizen and resided in Maryland, contracted Ebola nearly two weeks ago.
Salia arrived at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha on Saturday. He died early Monday from advanced symptoms, including kidney and respiratory failure.
Steffes said his organization will continue to train doctors for to work in remote parts of Africa but says Salia's death leaves a tremendous gap in the battle against Ebola in Sierra Leone.
The group has trained 37 general surgeons and six pediatric surgeons who have been devoted to fighting the disease and saving lives.
"They feel very strongly that they can help," Steffes said. "John 15:16 says 'No greater love does a man have than he lay down his life for his friends.' Martin laid down his life this morning."