Kaci Hickox, Benevolent Servant Turned Egocentric Activist

Kaci Hickox, Benevolent Servant Turned Egocentric Activist October 30, 2014

Kaci Hickox, the nurse who recently returned from treating Ebola patients
in West Africa, has ended her voluntary quarantine in Maine–demanding that the government and public health officials stop protecting the public’s health and start protecting her right to have a good time.

The Doctors Without Borders nurse feels that she’s been unfairly discriminated against, and so has enlisted an attorney to defend her right to move about society.  She broke out of her “voluntary confinement” Wednesday evening to hold an impromptu press conference outside her Maine home; and while she respected the state-mandated quarantine for two days, she promises to break it again on Thursday.

*     *     *     *     *

Her fiery rhetoric is unsupported by facts.  Although some politicians have tried to make the claim that an asymptomatic individual cannot be a carrier for the disease, at least so far, independent health officials have been unable to affirm that promise.

In fact the opposite would seem to be true:  Dr. Bruce Beutler, a Nobel Prize-winning scientist and director of the Center for the Genetics of Host Defense at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, supported New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s [now-vacated] 21-day quarantine.  “I favor it,” he said,

“…because it’s not entirely clear that they can’t transmit the disease….  It may not be absolutely true that those without symptoms can’t transmit the disease, because we don’t have the numbers to back that up.  It could be people develop significant viremia [where viruses enter the bloodstream and gain access to the rest of the body], and become able to transmit the disease before they have a fever, even….

“People may have said that without symptoms you can’t transmit Ebola. I’m not sure about that being 100 percent true. There’s a lot of variation with viruses.”

*     *     *     *     *

In stepping outside her home to face the media Wednesday evening, Hickox showed that she has little regard for law.

She also showed that she has little regard for the recommendations of public health officials, who imposed a 21-day quarantine period for individuals returning from countries where Ebola has ravaged the population, killing thousands.

Speaking to the Today Show, Hickox said,

“I remain appalled by these home quarantine policies that have been forced upon me even though I am in perfectly good health.”

Hickox believes herself to be significantly more aware than experts in the medical community of the potential risks to the general populace.  She said:

“We have to make decisions based on science. You could hug me, shake my hand, there is no way I would give you Ebola.”

Norman Siegel, the attorney hired by Hickox to defend her right to ignore public health guidelines, is also apparently an expert in communicable disease transmission and control.  Siegel said,

“Our position is very simple:  There’s no justification for the state of Maine to quarantine her.  She has no symptoms, and therefore she’s not contagious.  And she’s not at a risk to the public or the health and welfare of people in the state of Maine.”

But Mary Mayhew, Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner,  insisted at a press conference that the government is only trying to ensure the safety of its citizens.  Mayhew said: 

“I do not understand why this common sense approach, to ask someone to stay in their home for 21 days during the incubation period, why that is not a reasonable request to ensure, out of that abundance of caution, that we are protecting the people of this state.”

 *     *     *     *     *

Folks, we’re not talking about the flu here, despite Obama’s clumsy attempts to equate the two illnesses.  We’re talking about a disease which causes bodily organs to dissolve into a pulpous, bloody mess and which, if allowed to spread, would tax the limits of existing medical facilities while requiring that patients be isolated from families and society.

The citizens of Maine are justified in their desire to be protected from this horror.

We shall learn today whether a judge in the State of Maine will impose a court order, granting the state legal authority to arrest Hickox for violation of the state-imposed protections.

To be clear, it is the state of Maine who, along with New Jersey and New York, seeks to protect its citizens from the possible spread of the deadly disease.  The Obama Administration, as usual favoring political expediency over the public good, has imposed no such sanctions, instead blindly opining about how there is “no risk” to the public from exposure to just-returned medical staff who are asymptomatic.

My fellow blogger Calah Alexander wrote a wonderfully logical “Open Letter from the Unwashed Masses explaining why Americans are mistrustful of the government’s blustering assurances that there is nothing to fear from this dread disease:

The problem is, the “science” behind Ebola has been shifting almost as fast as the virus itself is spreading in Africa. First it was extremely unlikely that we would see Ebola in America, then it wasn’t. First it was very difficult to transmit from person to person, then it wasn’t. First any hospital in the country could safely handle Ebola, then they couldn’t. First it couldn’t be spread through droplets, then it could. Is it any wonder that the unwashed masses are having a hard time believing that it can’t be spread without symptoms? What if next week, it can?

And for Nurse Hickox, a note from the Florence Nightingale Pledge which she most likely recited during her Pinning Ceremony as a nurse (emphasis mine):

I solemnly pledge myself before God and in the presence of this assembly, to pass my life in purity and to practice my profession faithfully. I will abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous, and will not take or knowingly administer any harmful drug. I will do all in my power to maintain and elevate the standard of my profession, and will hold in confidence all personal matters committed to my keeping and all family affairs coming to my knowledge in the practice of my calling. With loyalty will I endeavor to aid the physician in his work, and devote myself to the welfare of those committed to my care.

 Dear Nurse Hickox:  Go home.  Stay there.  Make phone calls to your friends, and chat on social media.  Drink plenty of fluids.  Leave us alone.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • I don’t understand this. Somebody offers me a 21 day retreat away from society, with people to bring me food, where I have shelter, TV, and Internet, and I’d think I hit the lottery.

  • Dan13

    I think it is a bit un-Christian to treat someone who risked her life for the least of us as a criminal. If we aspire to follow Christ nation then perhaps we should be prepared to die like Christians rather than live like selfish pagans.

    • virago

      I’m a nurse and I take care of people whose infections are more contagious and can be as lethal. What kind of Catholic would I be if I didn’t take the necessary precautions at work so I would not infect my other patients, my colleagues, visitors in the hospital, the community outside the hospital and my family.

      It’s the Christian (and reasonable thing) to do.

    • kathyschiffer

      I guess you think, Dan, that we are treating our military as criminals? Because our soldiers returning from Africa are subject to a 21-day quarantine, and are not complaining about it.

      • klaskro

        Ms. Schiffer, your comment is non-responsive to Dan13’s point. We can debate the merits of various kinds of quarantines but you wrote a remarkably uncharitable piece–a “hit” really.

  • billmarvel

    As a practicing Catholic I’m deeply ashamed that this piece of pseudoscience should appear on a website associated with my church. In judging this young woman’s morality (“Egocentric Activist”) and ignoring established science — she is completely asymptomatic and free of the virus — you have done your church and your readers a disservice. Kaci Hickcox is far less a danger to her neighbors than fear-mongering “Faith” columnists. Stick to Catholicism, please, where I presume you can speak with at least a little familiarity.

    • As someone who believes in God but unfortunately detests religion, it is when I hear voices like yours that I reminded of the good in religion, and that God does still exist within it. Thank you for being a rational and kind voice and for reminding me that they do still exist.

  • Donalbain

    No person shall…….be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

  • I suppose that I shouldn’t be surprised that once again you’re exploiting someone else’s situation for your own personal gain in readership. Truly, have you know limits? Let me state your own words right back at you: YOUR FIERY RHETORIC IS UNSUPPORTED BY FACTS.

    This woman put her life on the line to tend care for others while you sit behind your screen and do nothing more than bash anyone you see fit that happens in your news feed – and even worse, under the guise of religion. Not only do you call into question her actions, but you write about her as if she is purposefully trying to infect the public, as if she has an agenda to get people sick. The only sick person here is you.

    May I remind you that she was forced to stay in an unheated tent, with no flushing toilet. Is that really the way to control a virus? If they were that concerned, and it wasn’t just a political agenda and fear mongering, you’d think that plumbing would be a pretty big concern with containment.

    She shows zero signs of infection AND the ONLY way someone can be infected is through bodily fluids. THAT IS SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN.

    Are you now in the business of fear-mongering politics too? Because the last few pieces you’ve written seem to be exactly that. Honestly, you should be ashamed of yourself. How you can pass so much judgement on so many people and call yourself a person of God boggles my mind.