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RN Detained and Quarantined As Ebola Hysteria Reaches a New Low

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MissyWrite has 25 years experience and specializes in RN, CHPN.

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Kaci Hickox, a nurse was placed under a mandatory Ebola quarantine in New Jersey by

  1. 1. Kaci Hickox, a nurse was placed under a mandatory Ebola quarantine in New Jersey by

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NJ and NY have instituted a policy of placing health workers into mandatory 21-day quarantine upon their return from West Africa if they came into contact with Ebola patients.

This new policy is a reaction to unfounded public hysteria surrounding Dr. Craig Spencer's return to NYC after working with Doctors Without Borders, and his subsequent diagnosis of Ebola, after he had taken the subway and gone bowling. People fear Ebola can be spread through casual contact with an asymptomatic person, even though public health experts say there's plenty of scientific evidence indicating that isn't the case.

Is this policy based on the facts about Ebola transmission? Is it based on science? No, it's not, and in fact no one is saying that it is:

"Voluntary quarantine is almost an oxymoron," New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said. "We've seen what happens. ... You ride a subway. You ride a bus. You could infect hundreds and hundreds of people."

"Public health experts say there's plenty of scientific evidence indicating that there's very little chance that a random person will get Ebola, unless they are in very close contact -- close enough to share bodily fluids -- with someone who has it.

Still, there's also a sense that authorities have to do something because of Americans' fears -- rational or not -- and belief that the country is better off being safe than sorry.

Osterholm says, "You want to try to eliminate not just real risk, but perceived risk."

Mike Osterholm is an infectious disease epidemiologist at the University of Minnesota.

Because of this irrational "perceived" risk, Kaci Hickox, 33, an RN who has been caring for Ebola patients while on assignment with Doctors Without Borders in Sierra Leone, was detained at the airport, interrogated for hours, and placed in mandatory quarantine at a New Jersey hospital upon her return to the U.S. on Friday.

She has tested negative in a preliminary test for Ebola, and she does not have a fever, but the hospital says she will remain under mandatory quarantine for 21 days. She is not allowed to leave the hospital, unless officials reconsider that decision.

Here are some excerpts from her experience so far:

I am a nurse who has just returned to the U.S. after working with Doctors Without Borders in Sierra Leone - an Ebola-affected country. I have been quarantined in New Jersey. This is not a situation I would wish on anyone, and I am scared for those who will follow me...

I arrived at the Newark Liberty International Airport around 1 p.m. on Friday, after a grueling two-day journey from Sierra Leone. I walked up to the immigration official...

I told him that I have traveled from Sierra Leone and he replied, a little less enthusiastically: "No problem. They are probably going to ask you a few questions."...

He put on gloves and a mask and called someone. Then he escorted me to the quarantine office a few yards away. I was told to sit down. Everyone that came out of the offices was hurrying from room to room in white protective coveralls, gloves, masks, and a disposable face shield.

One after another, people asked me questions. Some introduced themselves, some didn't. One man who must have been an immigration officer because he was wearing a weapon belt that I could see protruding from his white coveralls barked questions at me as if I was a criminal.

Two other officials asked about my work in Sierra Leone. One of them was from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

I was tired, hungry and confused, but I tried to remain calm. My temperature was taken using a forehead scanner and it read a temperature of 98. I was feeling physically healthy but emotionally exhausted.

Three hours passed. No one seemed to be in charge. No one would tell me what was going on or what would happen to me.

I called my family to let them know that I was OK. I was hungry and thirsty and asked for something to eat and drink. I was given a granola bar and some water. I wondered what I had done wrong.

Four hours after I landed at the airport, an official approached me with a forehead scanner. My cheeks were flushed, I was upset at being held with no explanation. The scanner recorded my temperature as 101. The female officer looked smug. "You have a fever now," she said. I explained that an oral thermometer would be more accurate and that the forehead scanner was recording an elevated temperature because I was flushed and upset.

I was left alone in the room for another three hours. At around 7 p.m., I was told that I must go to a local hospital. I asked for the name and address of the facility. I realized that information was only shared with me if I asked.

Eight police cars escorted me to the University Hospital in Newark. Sirens blared, lights flashed. Again, I wondered what I had done wrong.

At the hospital, I was escorted to a tent that sat outside of the building. The infectious disease and emergency department doctors took my temperature and other vitals and looked puzzled. "Your temperature is 98.6," they said. "You don't have a fever but we were told you had a fever."

After my temperature was recorded as 98.6 on the oral thermometer, the doctor decided to see what the forehead scanner records. It read 101. The doctor felts my neck and looked at the temperature again. "There's no way you have a fever," he said. "Your face is just flushed."

My blood was taken and tested for Ebola. It came back negative........

http://www.dallasnews.com/ebola/headlines/20141025-uta-grad-isolated-at-new-jersey-hospital-as-part-of-ebola-quarantine.ece

This is what happens to nurses when public ignorance and hysteria is placated by politicians.

We've already seen nurses blamed for just about everything Ebola-related since the first case in Dallas, and now we see a nurse being held against her will, for no reason except to make scared people "feel safer."

"It does present serious civil liberties questions," said Norman Siegel, a civil liberties lawyer in New York and the former executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union. "Historically, we've had these kinds of issues occur previously, and the courts then resolved the individual liberty issue against the larger concerns of the public's health concerns. So it then becomes a factual issue, the fact that she tested negative."

"It's completely unnecessary," said Harvard's Ashish Jha, the director of the Harvard Global Health Institute).

"I'm a believer in an abundance of caution but I'm not a believer of an abundance of idiocy."

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macawake has 12 years experience.

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"Voluntary quarantine is almost an oxymoron," New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said. "We've seen what happens. ... You ride a subway. You ride a bus. You could infect hundreds and hundreds of people."

:facepalm:

Well, he got one thing right (well, almost right ;) ). Oxymoron… Pfft. More like moron/ic.

This is beyond ridiculous. I’m frankly surprised and saddened that there are nurses (as evidenced by posts on AN) who actually support this hare-brained scheme. I understand why the public who lack medical/scientific training might, but I can’t understand how nurses can.

MSF have been fighting Ebola outbreaks for decades. Their protocol has worked. To my knowledge, no returning healthcare worker has ever infected a family member or anyone else, in the asymptomatic phase of the disease. They pose no risk to society.

A person can infect another person when their viral load increases and they become symptomatic. That stage of the disease involves liberal “ejections” of bodily fluids such as vomit and diarrhea as well as the risk of bleeding.

I wish people would come to their senses. Think about it. To date (and this involves a long period of time, 1976-2014), no healthcare worker has ever returned to their country and infected anyone while being asymptomatic.

The index patient in Nigeria flew from Monrovia, Liberia to Lagos, Nigeria already symptomatic. People, he vomited in-flight. How many people who were on that flight did he infect? That’s right, no one. Not a single soul.

The index patient in Dallas sought medical attention for the first time on September 25 after he started feeling sick the day before. At this time his symptoms were a fever, abdominal pain, dizziness, nausea and a headache. He was sent home and returned to the ER on September 28 after he had started vomiting. He sat for several hours in the waiting room before being isolated. How many of the people in the waiting room did he infect? How many of the healthcare staff that he came in contact with on his first visit (on the 25th) did he infect? How many of his family members and friends (and this was quite a large group of people) did he infect? Again, no one. He did however, when he was in the late stages of his disease, pass the infection on to two nurses who cared for him after he was hospitalized.

Does this suggest to you that a person, who doesn’t have any symptoms, would pose a risk to someone else?

The people who do get infected are healthcare professionals and family members who provide care for a symptomatic (and by symptomatic I don’t mean just a low-grade fever, I mean an obviously extremely sick person) patient or loved one.

Placing returning healthcare professionals in quarantine only gives credence to the irrational fear that Ebola might infect someone in the asymptomatic phase. That alone makes this decision a very bad one. Why would the authorities want to imply this, when all the empirical data that we have, show that this is clearly not the case.

Even if there is still a lot to be learned about this disease, after almost forty years we do know under what circumstances a person is able to infect another. It’s not when they’re asymptomatic.

I think that the authorities’ objective should be to educate people, not kowtow to their primitive and misinformed fears.

My heart goes out to this nurse who after generously helping other human beings in need, has to suffer through this foolishness. It would have been perfectly adequate for her to self-monitor, report any symptoms and promptly seek medical attention, instead of this debacle.

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MissyWrite has 25 years experience and specializes in RN, CHPN.

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(somehow I double-posted, but was unable to delete comment)

Edited by MissyWrite

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MissyWrite has 25 years experience and specializes in RN, CHPN.

193 Posts; 4,646 Profile Views

Placing returning healthcare professionals in quarantine only gives credence to the irrational fear that Ebola might infect someone in the asymptomatic phase. That alone makes this decision a very bad one.

I agree. And if they're doing it to 'try to make people feel safe,' they're doing a bad job. In fact, they're doing the opposite. They're feeding the hysteria instead of calming it. It's nothing more than a political game to them, with the public and health care workers as their pawns.

I think that the authorities’ objective should be to educate people, not kowtow to their primitive and misinformed fears.

Yes, that should be their objective. I find it disheartening that nurses are among those with misinformed fears.

My heart goes out to this nurse who after generously helping other human beings in need, has to suffer through this foolishness.

My heart goes out to her, too.

This debacle will result in fewer nurses and other health professionals going to Africa, which will result in more suffering and more infection. I feel like I'm watching a grade-B movie, like surely this can't be reality. It's a sad commentary on the state of humanity in many people.

I read a great article recently...

“Every mechanism we have for caring—touching, holding, feeding, playing, warming, comforting, caressing — every mechanism that we use to bind us to our families and our neighbors, is preyed upon by Ebola…We are humans, and we will care about our children and our families even if it means that we may die in doing so...”

“The only one way to battle a disease that affixes itself parasitically to our humanity is to overwhelm it with greater, stronger humanity. To immunize Africa and the rest of the world with a blast of humanity so powerful that the disease can no longer take root...”

“The problem is double-edged. Ebola threatens humanity by preying on humanity. The seemingly simple solution is to destroy humanity ourselves…But doing so means destroying ourselves in order to save ourselves, which is no solution at all.”

‘The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola’

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MissyWrite has 25 years experience and specializes in RN, CHPN.

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NY Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo brushed aside questions about whether his quarantine order was an overreaction. The governor said a little anxiety "is a good thing" in dealing with something like Ebola.

A 'little anxiety' is a good thing? I guess it is as long as he's not the one imprisoned without cause.

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why don't these medical personel coming from Embola infected direct contact areas self confine themselves for 21 days before boarding planes to come here??? What is the problem with that???

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macawake has 12 years experience.

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why don't these medical personel coming from Embola infected direct contact areas self confine themselves for 21 days before boarding planes to come here??? What is the problem with that???

Why on earth should they have to?????

If they are unfortunate enough to get infected they’ll get much better care in their own country, and have a better chance to survive. No humane society turns its back on its members in their time of need. Of course these healthcare workers should be provided medical care in their own country if they need it. We also get a chance to gain valuable knowledge about the disease process and treatment, when care is given in our better equipped facilities.

Research on the Ebola Virus Disease is needed, we will gain information needed to effectively combat it.

“These” medical personnel are brave and caring individuals who dedicate their time and risk their health or even lives, to make the world a safer place for all of us. That includes you and I. They provide medical care to human beings who desperately need it. They are in my opinion heroes.This outbreak has global ramifications, it’s not an isolated West Africa issue. By the way, all human lives have equal value, regardless of nationality, origin or domicile.

The only way to keep us safe, is to control the outbreak in West Africa. The more it spreads locally, the larger the threat becomes on an international level. We live in a globalized world, burying our heads in the sand or trying to close our borders won’t do us any good. Dedicated individuals who volunteer help contain the outbreak. It’s in our best interest, as well as the morally right thing, to take good care of the people who are willing to make a difference.

Edited by macawake

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MissyWrite has 25 years experience and specializes in RN, CHPN.

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No humane society turns its back on its members in their time of need. Of course these healthcare workers should be provided medical care in their own country if they need it.

The US has not been a humane society for a while now. It's a society screaming, "Let 'em die!" Let 'em die so I can live, ME ME ME, chicken little that I am! Protect me from non-existent threats, Mr. Self-Serving Politician, who is doing what I want to get my vote, and who is actually making me want what I think I want, but I don't realize it!

People are terrified of Ebola...so by default, that makes the ones who care for Ebola victims the bravest people on this planet. They're not hysterical cowards who insist nurses and other HCWs who've risked their lives, and who pose no risk to them, lose their basic human rights and be locked up like criminals for absolutely no reason.

In interviews that will be aired Sunday on CBS’s 60 Minutes, the Dallas nurses describe for the first time trying to treat Duncan before his death. They recall holding the dying man’s hand, as Duncan’s own family was not permitted in the room for fear of contracting the disease.

“I was very frightened,” says intensive care nurse Sidia Rose, according to transcripts of the interview. “I was. But — and I just dried my tears, rolled down my sleeves, so to speak, and — went on about my night.”

But even the Marines are shaking in their boots.

We've already proved that the survival rate here is far better than the 70% it is in Africa. We've cared for several victims here and so far -- with the exception of Mr. Thomas Eric Duncan -- all have survived. And NO ONE who lived with them, slept with them, or flew on planes with them, has been infected.

We've had Ebola patients in the U.S. for nearly six weeks. Has it spread through the populace like wildfire? How many people in the general public have been infected? That would be zero.

And yet, we think it's Africa that is teeming with the uneducated?

We need the charts on the walls they use in Liberia, where illiteracy is a problem. They inform the citizens of precautions to be taken, and educate about Ebola.

The posters have lots of pictures, few words to trouble the challenged, and help the public to understand what to do with the threat at hand, not the one imagined in their heads.

Are health workers in the USA going to be quarantined too? Are those caring for Dr. Spencer in NYC allowed to go home at the end of their shift, or are they locked in a hospital room until their next shift begins? And if not, why not, with the current climate and policies???

And considering that nearly 40,000 people die in this country every year from the flu, we should start quarantining everyone who presents with a temp and appears to be sick...shouldn't we??? Actually, the flu is contagious even before any symptoms occur, so maybe we should quarantine the whole nation!

Edited by MissyWrite

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coughdrop.2.go has 3 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in School Nursing, Public Health Nurse.

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Are health workers in the USA going to be quarantined too? Are those caring for Dr. Spencer in NYC allowed to go home at the end of their shift, or are they locked in a hospital room until their next shift begins? And if not, why not, with the current climate and policies???

And considering that nearly 40,000 people die in this country every year from the flu, we should start quarantining everyone who presents with a temp and appears to be sick...shouldn't we??? Actually, the flu is contagious even before any symptoms occur, so maybe we should quarantine the whole nation!

Perfect. This is so perfect. Are they going to quarantine the whole hospital? Where are they going to put all these people? Who is paying for it? Who is going to take care of these people's families? Pets? Mail off and pay their bills?

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why should they have tooo???

have you read the replies/comments to the news articles

"A three week quarantine is a small price to pay to protect others. It was a noble choice to go and help those who were very ill with Ebola, but it was your choice.

FLAGSHAREREPLY+60rate up

1 replyget?f=native&type=buddyIcon&t=impebbles10&defaultId=00050201d20472suzie Claire A 20 minutes ago21 days out of your life and God knows how many other lives if you were not forced to do this..You call yourself a health care worker..please..I am not sure where you went to school, but you might want to go back and re-read...Ethics. Sad...really.. you have the nerve to complain! There is a bigger issue here than YOU! so Get over yourself! Even though you are being very selfish... I truly hope and pray you keep testing negative.

FLAGSHAREREPLY+3rate up

1 replyget?f=native&type=buddyIcon&t=impebbles10&defaultId=00050201d20472suzie suzie 19 minutes agoand you knew all this going in!""

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Rose_Queen has 15 years experience as a BSN, MSN, RN and specializes in OR, education.

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The nurse in quarantine speaks out:

Quarantined nurse knocks Ebola policy - CNN.com

Her life in quarantine

She's not allowed to have her luggage and was given paper scrubs to wear. She has no shower, no flushable toilet and the hospital gave her no television or any reading material. Mostly, she says, she stares at the walls.

She's not allowed to see her lawyer or anyone else.

"The tent has a window, and doctors talk to me in normal clothes from outside the window," she says. "So if there's no risk to them talking to me from outside the window, it doesn't make any sense that my lawyer wouldn't be able to do the same."

Edited by Rose_Queen
wonky quote spacing

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