Quarantined Nurse’s Lawyers are Missing the Point

Kaci Hickox, the nurse who is now being quarantined after arriving at a New Jersey airport from West Africa, is planning to sue. She says her civil liberties have been annihilated and her lawyers say she has a strong case. Maybe so. But both she and those lawyers are missing the point.

It’s true the nation is overreacting, but maybe that’s the way some folks like it. Or maybe they’re not overreacting and that’s not OK with certain political slingers. Either way, once again, the American people are little more than a pawn in an election year.

The Quarantine

When Hickox returned to the states this past weekend, she supposedly began running a fever during the hours-long hold they had on her. According to her, the fever was nothing more than her frustration at being held for no reason. Her attorneys agree and say she should be released pronto. Besides, they say, she can self-quarantine at home just fine, thank you very much.


Unfortunately, we know that to not be the case for other healthcare workers who’ve returned from the Ebola hot zones. Dr. Nancy Snyderman lost the respect of an entire nation when she bravely announced she would self-quarantine herself, before anyone asked her to, just to be doubly sure that she and others hadn’t contacted the disease like one of their co-workers, camera man Ashoko Mukpo. He’s not a medical worker, wasn’t in nearly as close in contact with the victims as Snyderman and others on the team, and yet, he contracted the disease. Snyderman then busted her own self-quarantine more than once, which, of course, sent some New Jersey residents railing. Making matters worse was Mukpo’s own tweet where he admitted that despite their shared travels, he was always at a distance, “For the record me and her were never within 3 feet of each other once. Be nice to her plz.” So, the question remains, just how did he contract Ebola?

Another “should have been self-quarantined” story is the one that includes Dr. Craig Spencer, who also opted to resume his normal life after returning from the Ebola hot zone. He too is now being cared for, after being diagnosed with the disease, in a New York hospital.

Clearly, self-quarantines aren’t the cure-all.

But here’s the thing – if all of these health care providers and freelance journalists, cameramen and others are taking loads of cautions, how are they still coming down with Ebola? These are the folks who are donning three and four pairs of gloves, countless other protective clothing mechanisms, face shields, heavy plastic from head to toe – these are the ones who are taking no risks at all. Yet they’re being diagnosed with Ebola. Meanwhile, we have every paid medical talking head on every news channel telling us there’s nothing to worry about. And that’s the point the lawyers are missing.

If there’s nothing to worry about, then where is the rest of the story? In our deepest core of common sense, most of us know that the odds of coming down with Ebola are practically nil. Except for the fact that there are now two nurses who thought the same thing, who donned the protective clothing, followed the CDC guidelines and yet, came down with the disease right here in the U.S. What are they not telling us?

The lawyers, instead of seeing this as what it truly is, are instead going to earn big bucks off of that fear. The quarantined nurse? What does she expect? Just because the president says the new rules in Illinois, New Jersey and New York are unnecessary doesn’t make it so. It’s the same president who will walk ten miles to tell a lie and not take two steps for the truth. So, yeah. You have a nation of concerned Americans who no longer know what to believe. The fact that the New York doctor’s family and the New Jersey nurse are crying foul is of no consequence to these same people. We’re more interested in what’s not being told. They say they’re doing God’s work. Great. There are people who are noble and who can do that. Most of us aren’t. And we’re OK with that. Martyrdom isn’t for everyone, after all.

The lawyers, for their part, need to take a step back and rethink this. Sure, they can sue. And they’ll likely make big money for themselves and their client, but at what cost? I can tell you the taxpayers aren’t happy because in the end, that’s where their excessive fees will come from. And what’s next? Does the nurse return to West Africa to continue doing her noble work, only to repeat this same tired story?

Sounds selfish? Maybe. But a few weeks ago, in yet another unnecessary scare, I was the one watching the news about a woman who’d supposedly just returned from West Africa and made her way to the hospital system my own child works at. Odds are, he’d have never come in contact with her, but even that’s too close. He laughed it off and said the media’s misreporting everything. I told him to get over it, I’d worry because it’s my job. In the end, it didn’t change the fact that it’s all happening somewhere else. Until it’s not.


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