Thursday, October 30, 2014

Sexy ebola nurses and a nurse who is "sick" over a forced quarantine...

Ebola is all over the news these days, thanks to the sudden and unwelcome presence of it in the United States.  Naturally, people's reactions to Ebola have varied.  Some have attempted a lame attempt at humor by turning the ebola scare into a money making Halloween opportunity.  I read at least one article yesterday about the so-called "sexy Ebola nurse" costume available for sale.  Some enterprising folks have combined a timely news story with sex and voila, controversy is born...  And I suspect that there have been a few sales of the costume, if not for those who'd actually wear it, then for those who can see that there may be a market for it when it's either banned or discontinued.

I'm not sure how I feel about the sexy Ebola nurse costume myself.  I don't tend to wear sexy clothes and donning something billed as "sexy" isn't really my style.  I doubt I could pull it off.  I guess I don't care if other people want to wear it.  While I don't think Ebola is a laughing matter, it doesn't offend me if others want to poke fun at it.  Maybe I'd feel differently if Ebola affected me personally... like it does nurse Kaci Hickox, who went to Sierra Leone for a month to help take care of Ebola patients.

Last week, Hickox came back to the United States after her West African adventure.  A forehead scanning thermometer in Newark indicated that she had a fever, so she was immediately quarantined in New Jersey.  The "tent" she was placed in was apparently very uncomfortable and unpleasant; moreover, she didn't actually have a fever.  Hickox raised a ruckus, so she was sent home to Maine, where she has been asked to stay inside her home.

Hickox maintains that she's not sick.  She tested negative for Ebola and says she doesn't have a fever. Therefore, she doesn't think she needs to stay cooped up in her house for three weeks.

I'm not sure how I feel about this.  I do think there's something to Hickox's claims that people are a bit hysterical about Ebola.  I can't really blame them for that, though.  It's a scary disease that kills quickly and most people have no idea how it's spread.  I have read that one can only get Ebola after contact with body fluids and it takes up to three weeks for the virus to incubate.  Public health officials are asking Kaci to stay put for safety's sake, but Kaci maintains that she shouldn't have to do that.

I'm guessing that Kaci Hickox probably isn't sick and a lot of what she says does make sense.  However, she may want to stay home for her own safety.  A lot of people are upset with her and think she's being selfish.

I, for one, am of a mixed mind about it.  I can certainly understand how a quarantine might be inconvenient, depressing, and annoying, especially for one who isn't actually ill.  And I do worry that this health scare going on right now may lead to people's civil rights being violated for frivolous reasons.  I think enforced quarantines can lead to a slippery slope that can cause a lot of problems.  At the same time, as a health worker, I think Kaci Hickox should have more empathy for the masses.  Most people aren't particularly knowledgable about how diseases are spread.  Ebola is a scary viral illness with a high mortality rate.  Three weeks may seem like forever if one is confined, but the reality is, it's not a long time.  If it were me, I'd probably just stay home and be glad I wasn't forced to be in a hospital.  But then, I stay home a lot of the time anyway.

Kaci Hickox says she's going to sue over this quarantine business.  I suspect by the time it gets to court, we'll know whether or not the authorities were right to "detain" her.  I guess I don't blame Kaci for being upset.  At the hospital in New Jersey, the least they could have done was give her some items to make the two day stay more comfortable rather than just forcing her to stay in a tent with nothing to read. 

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