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