Friday, October 31, 2014

Selfishness Personified... In Medical Staff?

Remember when Thomas Duncan left Africa, knowing full well he had been directly exposed to the Ebola virus, and came to the United States, presumably to get treatment if he became sick? Mr. Duncan's actions caused at least two more people to become ill with the virus. And while Mr. Duncan succumbed to the disease eventually, his selfish act of traveling to the United States for treatment is at least understandable. He was hoping to save his own life.

Enter the new faces of selfishness. Doctor Nancy Snykerman, Doctor Craig Spencer and Nurse Kaci Hickox.

These three health care workers all have been to Africa and were possibly exposed to the Ebola virus. Dr. Spencer definitely was since he currently has the virus and is hospitalized.

Unfortunately, Dr. Spencer decided not to quarantine himself when he returned from Africa. He passed the CDC mandated screening (which is basically useless) and had no symptoms for several days. During those days he was out and about in New York, riding trains, hitting restaurants and he even went bowling. Five days after clearing the CDC screening Dr. Spencer was in the hospital with Ebola. After he was admitted he lied to police about what he'd done during those five days. How many people did he expose in his selfishness? And he's a doctor.

Dr. Snykerman, the physician turned NBC medical correspondent, returned from an assignment in West Africa several weeks ago where she had been in close contact with the cameraman who had contracted Ebola. As such, Snykerman and her crew were placed in a voluntary quarantine for 21 days. During that quarantine Snykerman and her crew decided to go to a restaurant to get some take out food. Snykerman didn't get out of the car - one of her crew members actually went in and picked up the food, but he/they were recognized by people in the restaurant and the authorities were notified. Snykerman and her crew were then forced into quarantine by the court and they stayed put. Again - how many people did they expose during their little outing?

Finally, let's take a look at the most vocal, belligerent and most selfish of the quarantine breakers - Kaci Hickox. Ms. Hickox returned from Sierra Leon last week and was found to have a low grade fever when she went through the CDC screening at Newark International airport. She was taken to a local hospital and placed in quarantine, where she immediately began her rants.

“I believe that the forehead scanner used to take that temperature was completely inaccurate,” Hickox said. “I didn’t take any anti-fever medicines while at the airport and when I arrived in the isolation facility they took my temperature by an oral thermometer and it was completely normal."

“You don’t get rid of a fever without taking something within a couple of hours, so I think we need to discuss also the instrumentation that officials are using,” she said.

So because Ms. Hickox decided the scanner was inaccurate, she gets to make her own rules and change the procedures at the airport screening stations? How arrogant is that?

With the help of her attorney, who just happened to be a guest of the President at a state dinner a couple of weeks ago, Ms. Hickox was released from quarantine after "testing negative for Ebola for 24 hours." Yup - a 21 day quarantine is really effective if you institute it for a whole 24 hours.

Basically, Governor Christie caved in to White House pressure and allowed Ms. Hickox to leave. She then went to Maine where the state immediately told her she needed to remain in quarantine inside her home for the rest of the 21 days. Ms. Hickox began screaming once again about her rights being violated because, she declared, she isn't sick and does not have Ebola!

So there it is. Kaci Hickox has declared herself Ebola free and non-contagious so that's the end of it. While the state of Maine works to get her confined with a court order, Ms. Hickox leaves her home to take care of an essential need - riding her bike around the neighborhood with her fiance'. She has flat out stated she will not abide by a quarantine and has vowed to sue anyone who tries to impose it on her. 

Ms. Hickox stated matter-of-factly that you one cannot catch Ebola from a patient who is not symptomatic. I guess she did the research on that while she was in Sierra Leon because the CDC has flat out stated they have not done any studies to make that determination. We apparently should be listening to Kaci Hickox rather than the CDC when it comes to Ebola. She's the expert. Just ask her.

Mary Mayhew of Maine Center for Disease Control would prefer Ms. Hickox simply adhere to a voluntary quarantine but said they will take action as necessary to cause her cooperation.

"We do not want to have to legally enforce an in-home quarantine. We are confident that the selfless health workers, who were brave enough to care for Ebola patients in a foreign country, will be willing to take reasonable steps to protect the residents of their own country. However, we are willing to pursue legal authority if necessary to ensure risk is minimized for Mainers,"
Mayhew said.

So the state will force Hickox to abide by the quarantine or what?  

Wait.... 'Mainers"?

Kaci Hickox is a nurse. Nurses are generally known to be compassionate, caring and selfless. Ms. Hickox must have skipped those classes in school. I wonder if her fiance' is watching closely? Does he really want to marry someone so selfish that she will do whatever necessary to get her own way - even if it's reckless and self centered? Hmmmm...

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