Nurse Kaci Hickox was released from her enforced quarantine in Newark New Jersey after retaining a lawyer to start action on a civil rights lawsuit. She was released despite the fact that it has not yet been 21 days since she was exposed to the Ebola virus while helping stricken patients in West African. This is also irregardless of the fact that New York and New Jersey have mandated a quarantine period for all those arriving in the country from West Africa. Although Ms. Hickox has tested negative twice for the virus, there is still a possibility that Ebola indeed resides in her body and is not yet detectable. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs103/en/
Hopefully, Nurse Hickox has not caught Ebola from her patients, for her sake and the sake of others. The two Texas nurses have been very blessed to be cleared of the virus that they caught while treating Eric Duncan. However, Ebola still has a very high mortality rate, even with treatment. It also appears that young adults have a better chance of surviving than small children and older people. So, the question remains, is Ms. Hickox being whiny and selfish by refusing to follow the quarantine and playing it safe? Or should she be permitted to make her own choice regarding a situation that could possibly have dire consequences for others? We have already had several exposed medical workers take a chance by traveling on public transportation. Why? Why will these giving and kind health workers not stay put after they have been exposed to a horrible deadly virus? Why take the chance? Are their personal liberties and desires more important than the health of others?
As much as I believe in civil rights, the public health and safety needs to be put first when it comes to such a deadly disease. We need to err on the side of caution and any health worker, who I am sure cares about the safety others should be readily willing to cooperate for the common good. Quarantine is a minor inconvenience compared to the possible devastation that can could be caused if Hickox turns out to have Ebola a week from now. It may or may not be caught through casual contact. But, I personally would not take the chance of sickening anyone else if there was even a remote possibility that I had a deadly disease. I just don’t think I am special enough to be an exception. Maybe Nurse Hickox thinks she is though.