Ebola Nurse Wins Case For Freedom From Quarantine-But What About Her Neighbors Rights?

Ebola Nurse Wins Case For Freedom From Quarantine-But What About Her Neighbors Rights?

A judge in Maine has decided to release nurse Kaci Hickox from her quarantine for Ebola today. Chief District Court Judge Charles LaVerdiere decided that the state had not met its burden of proof that Nurse Hickox should be quarantined for 21 days out of an “abundance of caution for the protection of the health of the public”. Why you ask? Well it seems that Nurse Hickox is not symptomatic so she is not contagious. My only issue with that logic is that the New York doctor who recently returned from the Hot Zone in West Africa, like Nurse Hickox, returned to the states and was not symptomatic either. A few days after his return however he had a fever-making him symptomatic and likely contagious. With this fever Dr. Craig Allen Spencer ran three miles through the city, dined out with friends in a crowded restaurant, rode two different subway trains and went bowling. Tracing all of this contacts through this Big Apple adventure has 117 people being watched for Ebola symptoms so far. How are they tracking the people for Ebola symptoms? Well the New York City Health Department has 470 people who are responsible for contacting these folks twice a day to log their temperatures. Can you imagine the cost of that for the taxpayers? In the meantime, these people are allowed to move about the city.


Ebola Nurse Kaci Hickcox, Photo credit-BBC News

All this while our brave men and women who are returning from a deployment to the Hot Zone are forcibly quarantined in Italy prior to returning home for 21 days. The team of thirteen soldiers who had been in Liberia helping with the Ebola outbreak in that nation are holed up on an Army post in Vincenza, Italy and are in isolation.

“General Darryl Williams went on to explain that isolation means no contact with the outside world. At meals times, a team comes in to drop off food and they exit the dining area before the soldiers being monitored enter to eat. After the meal, eating utensils, including plastic cutlery, are burned. Their temperatures are taken twice a day. The team provided us with the ability to have exercise equipment, so the folks are eating well, they are exercising…I have the ability to get on computers and interface with my family. I am a grandfather, I talk to my daughter and granddaughter on Skype.”

So, let me get this straight. Our brave men and women who fight and die for this nation on foreign soil are sent over to Liberia to help them with their Ebola outbreak and they are forced into quarentine before they even set foot back in our country-but this nurse can pitch a fit and call a lawyer and she gets to roam free throughout her state with a judges consent?! Pardon me dear reader, but that grants me a MAJOR Whiskey Tango Foxtrot moment.

General Darryl Williams, US Army Photo Credit-Getty Images

Hickcox stated that she felt that her rights were being violated when she was detained since she had a slightly elevated temperature upon returning from the Hot Zone and being scanned at a New York airport when her flight arrived from West Africa. Now, granted, her digs were not the most wonderful  since the Newark, New Jersey hospital she was sent to had set up an isolation tent with a porta-potty in it. However, the hospital was doing the best it could under the circumstances. My question is this-what about the rights of the people who live in her town to not be exposed to a virus with a 70% or higher mortality rate? Does your right to swing your arms not end where your neighbors nose begins? As a mother I worry about my young son being exposed to a virus that kills most of the people that it infects, whose transmission is subject to many questions and hot debate in the medical community.

The isolation tent where Kaci Hickox was held for 24 hours-not the Ritz but it beats an Ebola ward in Liberia!

I think that Greg Jarrett with Fox News put it most succinctly when he stated in his Opinion piece “Why An Ebola Qurantine Is Legal” that Nuse Hickox’s claiming that her rights are being violated is actually not an argument for her violating the rights of others.

“I admire Hickox’s dedication as a nurse. But her defiance is selfish and irresponsible. She, more than most, should understand that serious public health threats to an entire community must occasionally transcend or supersede the individual rights of one person or a few.”

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  • Dana says:

    If it turns out that the lovely Miss Hickox does not carry the Ebola virus, which is probably the case, everything will turn out fine. But if it’s the alternative, and she is infected, and her actions lead to the infection of even one other person, then I hope she is sued into penury and her nursing license revoked.

    Miss Hickox’s photo has been all over the news, and her location is well known. Let’s say that you are the owner or manager of a nice restaurant in Fort Kent, Maine, and Miss Hickox enters, planning to dine. How many of your other customers are going to leave, and how man of your staff are risking exposure, serving her? If the restaurant allows her to stay and dine, and one of the waiters contracts Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever, wouldn’t the restaurant and its manager be liable for requiring that waiter to serve her?

  • Jennifer says:

    I couldn’t agree more with all of those scenarios. All are highly plausible and terrifying. I believe in liberty but also responsibility-she is showing that she is irresponsible.

  • Jennifer says:

    Xavier, I had heard that her room mate had it! I would say she is even more irresponsible then. Clearly she is a very self centered person.

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