Quarantined nurse to sue for her freedom

A nurse who worked with Ebola patients in Africa and was quarantined in New Jersey after returning home is suing the state to force her release.

Kaci Hickox shows no symptoms of the disease and complained bitterly that screening personnel were mean to her.

NBC News:

Lawyers for a nurse quarantined in a New Jersey hospital say they’ll sue to have her released in a constitutional challenge to state restrictions for health care workers returning to New Jersey after treating Ebola patients in West Africa.

Civil liberties attorney Norman Siegel said Kaci Hickox, who was quarantined after arriving Friday at the Newark airport, shows no symptoms of being infected and should be released immediately. He and attorney Steven Hyman said the state attorney general’s office had cooperated in getting them access to Hickox.

Late Sunday, a spokesman for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie issued a statement saying that people who had come into contact with someone with Ebola overseas would be subject to a mandatory quarantine at home. It did not explain why Hickox was being held at the hospital, though it did say, "Non-residents would be transported to their homes if feasible and, if not, quarantined in New Jersey.

Hyman told NBC News he wasn't sure what the statement meant for Hickox's release. "I think we're getting closer to it," he said.

He and Siegel, speaking earlier outside Newark University Hospital, where she is quarantined, said they spent 75 minutes with her on Sunday. They said she was being kept in a tented area on the hospital's first floor with a bed, folding table and little else — they said she was able to get a laptop computer with wi-fi access only Sunday. But they said she is not being treated.

“She is fine. She is not sick,” Hyman said. Photos they released showed her in hospital garb peering through a plastic window of the tented-off area.

President Obama is jawboning Governors Cuomo, Christie, and Quinn to change their quarantine policies to allow the patients to serve out their isolation at home. Health care workers would visit twice a day and monitor their condition.

Lawyer Seigel said “We believe that the medical experts should be directing these policies, not the politicians." So instead of politicians making decisions on quarantines, we're going to let a federal judge do it? I didn't know that judges also had degrees in medicine and were experts on infectious diseases. I feel better already.

Ebola is now a political issue which means atmospherics trumps common sense. Authorities can't be seen being beastly to a citizen. Better that we take a chance she's Ebola free and let her go rather than act prudently and keep her in quarantine until we're 100% sure she's free of the disease. Perhaps President Obama can come give her a hug just to show that she isn't infectious.

The long and short of it is this; President Obama, Nurse Hickox, and others who think like them believe that if 1 or 2 - or 20 - Americans are infected with Ebola, that's a small price to pay for not looking "panicky." Their studied noncholance is political posturing - an affectation to contrast their supposed coolness with their "hysterical" opponents' "irrational fear." 

When politics is involved, common sense goes out the window and appearances matter more than keeping us safe.

 

 

A nurse who worked with Ebola patients in Africa and was quarantined in New Jersey after returning home is suing the state to force her release.

Kaci Hickox shows no symptoms of the disease and complained bitterly that screening personnel were mean to her.

NBC News:

Lawyers for a nurse quarantined in a New Jersey hospital say they’ll sue to have her released in a constitutional challenge to state restrictions for health care workers returning to New Jersey after treating Ebola patients in West Africa.

Civil liberties attorney Norman Siegel said Kaci Hickox, who was quarantined after arriving Friday at the Newark airport, shows no symptoms of being infected and should be released immediately. He and attorney Steven Hyman said the state attorney general’s office had cooperated in getting them access to Hickox.

Late Sunday, a spokesman for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie issued a statement saying that people who had come into contact with someone with Ebola overseas would be subject to a mandatory quarantine at home. It did not explain why Hickox was being held at the hospital, though it did say, "Non-residents would be transported to their homes if feasible and, if not, quarantined in New Jersey.

Hyman told NBC News he wasn't sure what the statement meant for Hickox's release. "I think we're getting closer to it," he said.

He and Siegel, speaking earlier outside Newark University Hospital, where she is quarantined, said they spent 75 minutes with her on Sunday. They said she was being kept in a tented area on the hospital's first floor with a bed, folding table and little else — they said she was able to get a laptop computer with wi-fi access only Sunday. But they said she is not being treated.

“She is fine. She is not sick,” Hyman said. Photos they released showed her in hospital garb peering through a plastic window of the tented-off area.

President Obama is jawboning Governors Cuomo, Christie, and Quinn to change their quarantine policies to allow the patients to serve out their isolation at home. Health care workers would visit twice a day and monitor their condition.

Lawyer Seigel said “We believe that the medical experts should be directing these policies, not the politicians." So instead of politicians making decisions on quarantines, we're going to let a federal judge do it? I didn't know that judges also had degrees in medicine and were experts on infectious diseases. I feel better already.

Ebola is now a political issue which means atmospherics trumps common sense. Authorities can't be seen being beastly to a citizen. Better that we take a chance she's Ebola free and let her go rather than act prudently and keep her in quarantine until we're 100% sure she's free of the disease. Perhaps President Obama can come give her a hug just to show that she isn't infectious.

The long and short of it is this; President Obama, Nurse Hickox, and others who think like them believe that if 1 or 2 - or 20 - Americans are infected with Ebola, that's a small price to pay for not looking "panicky." Their studied noncholance is political posturing - an affectation to contrast their supposed coolness with their "hysterical" opponents' "irrational fear." 

When politics is involved, common sense goes out the window and appearances matter more than keeping us safe.