Kaci Hickox Public Enemy?

Kaci Hickox’s restricted travel has now grabbed the front pages and the 7/24 news outlets. The story is perfect for the news media. It requires no intelligence or thought. It simply requires someone to hold an opinion. Is this nurse a public enemy?

Ms Hickox presents a great face for women, and for informed public health. There is no PC with Ms Hickox. She seeks no favors from the public trough and is prepared to stand her ground. Her defense, modern science and recent experience.

Medical experts have said that Ebola is not contagious until the onset of symptoms. Even then, there is a view that during the initial onset, like not feeling well or the first recognition of fever, someone is still not contagious.   It is only when the full presentation of symptoms where bodily fluids (vomit, spit, and diarrhea) come in contact with another unprotected person is there a chance to spread Ebola.

Ms Hickox apparently is confident she will recognize the onset and until then she feels she should be free to move around. Hmmm.

Maine public health officials have asked Ms Hickox to voluntarily isolate herself for 21 days. Ms Hickox has said no thanks. So what might be next?

Most likely the Maine Public Health officials will appeal to a court that Ms Hickox must be forcibly restrained. The Court will decide not on the merits but rather that the Maine Public Health organization has the regulatory power to order restraint. Hmmm.

Next, Ms Hickox side will sue the State of Maine claiming they had instituted controls not justified by the science involved (over stepped their authority). Before long one of two things will occur. Ms Hickox will come down with full blown Ebola, or the 21 days will pass with no occurrence. Maine will in that case offer to drop their charges if Ms Hickox does the same. Hmmm.

The US Ebola scare is a dry run for what might happen if we experience a real influenza outbreak.

There is a clear difference at the extremes between individual civil rights and protection of the population at large. This difference becomes harder to recognize the closer to the center one gets. Common sense and thankfully modern science can resolve this conundrum.

Unfortunately it will require leaders and not run of the mill politicians to sort this out. Even sadder, the country seems to have an excess of politicians and few leaders.

Thanks to Ms Hickox for again making this clear.

Explore posts in the same categories: congress, democrats, Ebola, kaci Hickox, maine, Politics, public health, republicans

7 Comments on “Kaci Hickox Public Enemy?”

  1. List of X Says:

    Hickox was tested for Ebola virus, twice, I think, and came up negative. I don’t see how a person can come down with Ebola and spread it to others if she doesn’t have the virus.

    • X, I believe the difficulty comes from “what concentration”of virus is needed to test positive. The Ebola virus grows in the blood stream and at some point the concentration becomes large enough to causes fever and other symptoms… If these symptoms do not express themselves within 21 days, medical experts say it won’t happen and therefore the person need not be restricted in movements.

      It is possible, although unlikely, that Traci may still develop symptoms. She is betting (I believe) that if she is in fact carrying Ebola virus at very low levels, she will recognize the full blown symptoms at their onset and can seek medical care without hurting others…

  2. Sara Says:

    Hickox is a shame to her profession. How many other people will decide not to follow health guidelines “because they know best” and go out from isolation. Just what we needed another God complexed medical professional.

    • Sara, “decide not to follow health guidelines”… actually Kaci is following medical health guidelines. The restricted travel is political restraint aimed at quelling fear among the general, un-medical informed population. Where does God complexed mean?

  3. Star, thanks for sharing your reaction… the irony is that the best defense for US Ebola outbreak is in fact for more American health care workers to go to the involved African countries…

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