Sunday, October 26, 2014

My answer to Kaci Hickox

Nurse and recent Ebola healthcare worker from W. Africa, Kaci Hickox, is currently in a 21 day quarantine in NJ.

Kaci Hickox is a nurse who has recently been on the front lines of fighting the Ebola virus in western African nations.  I applaud her for her courage to help those with Ebola in Africa.

But, my applause ends there.  She is currently complaining and is threatening legal action because she is in quarantine for 21 days against her will after returning from Africa.  She says she is asyptomatic, therefore not infectious, and has been having her temperature taken several times a day.  She has tested negative to the Ebola virus so far.

Kaci believes it is against her basic human rights to be quarantined. 

Well, Kaci, my answer is this, it is time for you to grow up, woman up and gain some maturity.  Now you must muster up some more courage to ride out a quarantine for 21 days. You have come back from the Ebola ravaged western African countries.  You have been exposed to the Ebola virus and therefore you may become infectious.  In the highly populated area in which you returned to the U.S, you darn well should be quarantined for 21 days.

Until the 21 days is up, you don't know for sure you haven't contracted the Ebola virus.  So far, Kaci, I'm not impressed with the people who have contracted the virus, because they did not self-quarantine themselves.  Had they done that, others around them would not have contracted the disease and/or be in quarantine today or being monitored today.

Amber Vinson came to my home state, Ohio, three miles from my home and brought the Ebola virus here.  I am not pleased with her.  She tried on dresses at a bridal shop, and now those dresses need to be burned and the bridal shop needs to be sanitized.

Those of you who have become exposed to Ebola because of your work in Africa, should not be questioning a 21 day quarantine.  We have not been able to determine when during the 21 days an exposed person can contract the virus.  So far, not one of the health care workers have been able to self-quarantine themselves.

Quite frankly, I find you, Amber Vinson and Craig Spencer, three health care workers, to be selfish, self-absorbed brats.  All you care about are your basic human rights not to be in quarantine.  What about the basic human rights of 250 million people living in the U.S.?  We have basic human rights also.  What about the basic human rights of Americans not to have an Ebola epidemic/pandemic started here on our shores.

With the fatality rate as high as it is from this virus, a 50%-90% fatality rate depending on which news organization I listen to, this virus must be stopped at all ports of entry into the United States.  We don't know enough about this virus to be sure you won't come down with the virus or infect anyone.

And, yes, I do know how it feels to be quarantined and isolated.  Ten years ago I contracted the c.diff infection.  The doctors were never able to determine how I caught it.  I went into the ER room at the Akron General Medical Center in Akron, OH,  having a severe colitis attack and that was when the c.diff infection was discovered.  We have no idea how long I was walking around, infected, and not knowing it.

I was immediately put in an isolation room in the Medical Center for five days. And, yes, the doctors and nurses came in dressed in the Hazmat suits you all wear in Africa.  Talk about scary and embarrassing.  It was.   There was a big red isolation sign on my door and no one but nurses and doctors in protection gear were permitted to enter. 

 At the time this happened I was teaching (I am retired now), and I did not think twice about my unfortunate situation.  Were my basic human rights taken away?  Yes, they were. I could not leave the room nor the hospital, nor have any outside visitors, and I was told if I did leave on my own, I would be arrested by the police and returned to the hospital until the isolation time (5 days) was over.  

Did I like being isolated?  No. It was quite lonely and I could not have any visitors.   Would I rather have been recuperating those five days at home?  Yes.  But, the doctors and nurses took this seriously.  I could not return to home nor to work because I could infect students and/or staff or anyone else for that matter. 

And all this over an infection that doesn't even kill, which Ebola does.  So, if you think I don't understand what you are going through, I do.  I want you in quarantine for the 21 days and I don't care about your basic human rights in this situation.  The greater good of the country is more important that your basic human rights.  

So you are quarantined for 21 days.  Oh, what a sacrifice you are making.  What about the soldiers who have sacrificed their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan for us?  What about the soldiers that have returned home maimed and broken from these wars. What about the soldiers that experienced mustard gas?   What about the soldiers that will never be the same again?

What about the wives and children of these service men who have sacrificed their lives by now having to live with a husband and father with tramatic wounds and/or PTSD?

And, you are whining about 21 days in quarantine?  Pluuuueeeease!

I have no respect for your request of a hearing so you can leave quarantine.  I have no respect for health workers, who understand how dangerous Ebola is because it kills in such a horrible and bloody way, and refuse to cooperate with quarantines especially in some of the most populated areas in the U.S.

Your lack of courage and sacrifice for your country is unacceptable and unconscionable.

Update:  October 31, 2014.  I find it very sad that you refuse to cooperate with state health officials in NJ and Maine.  To defy these health officials is unprofessional and a disgrace.  No one is taking your freedom away.  We ask that you be prudent and remain quarantined until the 21 incubation period is over.  Yes, we understand the science and that this virus is only transmitted through bodily fluids entering the body.  But, we don't know enough about this virus and how it works in every situation.  We don't understand yet, why some exposed to it come down with the virus and others don't.   We don't have any answers to those exposed and what happens when they sweat.  Sweat is a bodily fluid. We also know that the virus is active on dry surfaces, but science is not able to tell us for how long.  We do know that you can become infectious anytime during the 21 day incubation period.  I sincerely hope you do not come down with the virus, but you must understand your community's concern about possible exposure to and contracting the virus until the 21 days are over.  We understand you feel well and are asymptomatic, but your unprofessional behavior is frightening to your community.  You need to be understanding of your community's rights not to be around someone who has been exposed to the virus until all these questions can be answered scientifically.  You are creating more harm than good.

Copyright (c)  2014   Suzannah Wolf Walker   all rights reserved

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Ben Bradlee 1921 - 2014

Benjamin C. Bradlee, Vice-President at Large, of The Washington Post.

Legendary Ben Bradlee, a legend in his own time, passed away October 21, 2014.  He is being remembered as the most charismatic and luminescent journalist of his time.  He believed that journalism and its gate-keeper role was essential to ensuring democracy and a democratic nation.  With his death, a golden era of journalism has passed.

At the time of his death he was vice-president at large of The Washington Post, his beloved newspaper that he came to in 1965 as a news editor.  His star rose to the position of executive editor of the Post from 1968-1991.  

He believed in and supported aggressive but meticulous reporting from all his reporters.  He also supported the use of 'anonymous sources'.  In fact, Bradlee, Woodward and Bernstein were to only ones who knew the identity of "Deep Throat," the anonymous source during the Watergate reporting. Katharine Graham, the Post publisher, never knew his identity.

Bradlee and Katharine Graham, publisher of the Post, held stewardship over the paper during two of the most defining moments in the paper's history - the Pentagon Papers and the Watergate scandal.  It was during this time that Bradlee rose to national prominence.

In 1971, Bradlee and Graham were issued subpoenas by the Nixon administration to appear in federal court to quash the publication of the Pentagon Papers, which told the truth about the Viet Nam War that Nixon did not want to come out.

The case went on to the Supreme Court which ruled that The Washington Post, along with The New York Times, could print the Pentagon Papers. Thus, Bradlee and Graham scored a victory for freedom of the press.

Just about a year later Bradlee and the Post were embroiled in the Watergate scandal. Bradlee staunchly supported and backed his two young, green news reporters, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, as they went on to report the break in of the Watergate offices of the Democratic National Headquarters.  They were able to connect the break in to the White House and then to Nixon himself.  They simply followed the money and brought down a president. Nixon resigned as President of the U.S. in disgrace on August 9, 1974 and Vice-President Gerald Ford became President of the United States.

Carl Bernstein (left) and Bob Woodward, reporters of the Watergate scandal, in the Post newsroom. 

Woodward and Bernstein's reporting earned them the Pulitzer Prize in journalism.  In fact, under Bradlee's tenure, the Post won a total of seventeen Pulitzer Prizes.

The only dark spot on Bradlee's career was the 1981 Janet Cooke scandal.  Janet Cooke, a feature writer for the Post, wrote the story "Jimmy's World," in which she chronicled the life and times of Jimmy, an eight-year-old heroin addict, living on the mean streets of Washington, DC.  

Bradlee was a staunch supporter of Cooke and her story and published it on the front page of the Post.  Cooke won a Pulitzer Prize for her reporting, but it was later discovered that she had invented and made up the entire story. Jimmy, the eight-year-old heroin addict, had never existed.  Bradlee had to see that the Pulitzer Prize was returned and, of course, he fired Cooke. It was the one dark moment in an otherwise illustrious career.

Under his tenure, Bradlee turned the Post into one of the most important newspapers in the country and nearly doubled its circulation and number of newsroom reporters.

Before his tenure at the Post,  Bradlee was managing editor of the Boston Globe. He went to Washington D.C. in the early 1960's as Washington bureau chief for Newsweek magazine.  It was during these early years in Washington that Bradlee became good friends with JFK and he and his wife and the Kennedy's often socialized together.

Bradlee was married three times throughout his life, and his present wife is Sally Quinn, news reporter and columnist for the Post, whom he married in 1978.  He also leaves children from his present and previous marriages.

The world of journalism was forever changed and made better by the fortitude, determination, perseverance, effervescence,  and charisma of Ben Bradlee. He was larger than life and he will always be remembered as a shining force in the journalism profession.

Bradlee is given the Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor, in 2013.

Copyright (c)  2014  Suzannah Wolf Walker   all rights reserved

Saturday, October 18, 2014

A Drop in Time

I only knew you for a time

A drop in time

How fleeting the time

splashed by

As concentric circles

Rippled out into the depths

Of my heart and soul

Only a drop in time

Leaving a lifetime of ripples

Copyright (c)   Suzannah Wolf Walker   all rights reserved

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Ebola Crisis

As I am sitting here watching and listening on television to the congressional hearings on the ebola virus with the CDC (Center for Disease Control)  doctors, and I am shocked to hear how ineffective our government and country is about stopping this virus in its tracks.

I am also shocked because I just googled 'ebola virus' and got an eye full.  This is a such a horrible and insidious virus that the photos of the blood blisters and lesions on the skin of sufferers is so sickening I can't even put the photos on this blog.

I cannot believe how blase the CDC and our government has been about the transmission of this virus.  Ebola is on the verge of explosion in this country and I don't believe we have been or are doing enough to end this virus.

For the life of me, I can't believe this horrible virus has been around since 1976 and no one in this world has discovered or found a vaccine for this.  Since it originated in Africa, I think the world did not care enough to eradicate this virus because it was confined to Africa.  As long as it was far away we didn't care because it wasn't on our radar.  How could we have turned a blind eye to Africans and allowed them to die from this?  What the world has done is unconscionable.  

That said, why is the U.S. and other world nations not taking more stringent actions to stop this from traveling outside of Africa?  Why are people flying to the U.S. from the western African nations not being quarantined for the 21 day incubation period?  

Why was the man who flew into Dallas from Liberia not quarantined immediately and if not, why was the Texas Presbyterian Hospital so unprepared for this man in the ER?  The CDE is not giving forthright answers and does not seem to have its 'act together,' and able to put forth credible answers

How can our country be so ineffective with such a dangerous and insidious virus?

The second nurse in Dallas who contracted the ebola virus and who has been transferred to Emory University Hospital for treatment of the virus had no business being on a commercial air flight from Dallas to Cleveland and then Cleveland to Dallas.  What was she thinking? She is a 29 year old nurse, not some young kid just out of college.  Even if the CDC was not stopping her, she should have had enough sense in her own right as a professional not to get on a commercial flight.  How could she have been so unprofessional and endangered more than a hundred lives of those on the plane?

Yes, the nurses and doctors in Texas, as the nurses and doctors in Africa, are heroes.  But the 29-year-old second nurse has null and voided her hero status by thoughtlessly and ignorantly getting on that commercial air flight.

And, of course, the Texas Presbyterian Hospital was not prepared enough to know how to deal with the man from Liberia.  If they weren't prepared enough or didn't know what to do, why did they not seek help from Emory University Hospital which successfully treated the two medical people working with the Africans who had contracted the virus?  Why didn't they seek help from the CDC?  Why not get help from the National Institute of Health (NIH)? 

Everyone in this country thinks they know it all.  Why aren't we as a nation getting help from the workers on the front lines of this ebola virus in Africa?   All you have to do is look at the picture above of the worker in the protective suit and copy from that on how to dress and protect our medical people from the disease.  If everything isn't covered then you've got it wrong.  

All I have to do is look at the news reels and video from the workers in Africa to know the neck and legs should not have been exposed by the nurses in Texas.  It also seems that simple common sense was not used in our experience so far with the disease. Now we may have spread this insidious disease to other parts of the nation.

What I believe needs to be done:

1.  Not allow any more flights from the western African nations into the U.S.  The stopping of ebola in its tracks is more important than anything else.

2.  Anyone here in the U.S. believed to have been exposed to the virus should be in strict quarantine for the 21 day incubation period.  This is national security.

3.  Anyone with any type of elevated temperature should immediately be put in quarantine until it is determined they have not contracted the virus.

4.  No one exposed to the virus or with an elevated temperature should be permitted to travel on public transportation or be in public places.

Update:  October 23, 2014.  The CDC announced this morning that persons coming from the western African nations with the ebola virus may now enter at all ports of entry throughout the U.S. where they will be checked and monitored for the 21 day incubation period of the virus.

Update:  October 22, 2014.  The federal government has put restrictions on those traveling from western African nations that have the ebola virus to only enter the U.S. at five airports so that they can be monitored for the ebola virus.  Finally, the U.S. is taking control of those entering the U.S. from western Africa.  The five airports:  JFK, Newark, Dulles, Chicago and Atlanta.

Update:  October 17, 2014.  Thank you Amber Vinson for bringing Ebola to Ohio.  How could you have traveled here on a commercial air flight when you had been exposed to the Ebola virus?  You should have been quarantined for 21 days by the CDC and if not by them, then you should have had enough sense to quarantine yourself.  And, you had no business getting on a commercial air flight and exposing nearly 800 people to this deadly virus. You have endangered your own family by being here over the weekend plus everyone you came in contact with while you were here.  Your unprofessionalism is staggering. As far as I am concerned you are the worst type of nurse, who doesn't have enough common sense to realize that if exposed to Ebola you could become infected with the virus.  You have now endangered so many here in Ohio. Several schools have had to shut down because employees were around you the weekend you were here.  Let's hope no one here in Ohio becomes infected with this deadly virus.  If anyone does, it is on your head and shoulders and your fault. You are no hero!

Copyright (c)  2014  Suzannah Wolf Walker   all rights reserved