Nurse Kaci Hickox, was initially quarantined in an isolation tent, against her will in New Jersey, when she returned from caring for Ebola patients in Sierra Leone, West Africa. She hired an attorney and was released from quarantine on Monday.
She has tested negative for the virus twice, although, officials say she was febrile at the airport, when she arrived in New Jersey. She was later found to be afebrile and she denies ever having a fever. Now Hickox is refusing to comply with government officials in Maine, who are requesting that she quarantine herself until she has reached the required 21 days from last Ebola contact.
On the "Today" show she was asked if she planned to follow guidelines. She replied by saying, "I don't plan on sticking to the guidelines. I remain appalled by these home quarantine policies that have been forced upon me."
The Governor of Maine, Paul LePage, wrote in a statement: “She has been unwilling to follow the protocols set forth by the Maine CDC and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control for medical workers who have been in contact with Ebola patients."
Maine’s health commissioner warned (without actually naming Hickox) that if she refused to isolate herself willingly that they would force the quarantine.
Maine Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew told reporters Tuesday "If an individual who came in direct contact with Ebola patients has returned to Maine and is not willing to avoid public contact and stay in their home voluntarily during the period they are at some risk, we will take additional measures and pursue appropriate authority to ensure they make no public contact."
Mr Seigal, one of Hickox’s lawyers, said she is willing to abide by the guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that say she should “self-monitor” for signs of the disease, but that she would contest any court orders or quarantine.
Her lawyer also told the Daily News that "The conditions that the state of Maine is now requiring Kaci to comply with are unconstitutional and illegal and there is no justification for the state of Maine to infringe on her liberty,"
Ms. Hickox said the current quarantine policies are a "big deterrent" for health care workers who wish to assist with Ebola in West Africa, because they will not want to be quarantined upon their return if they are asymptomatic.
There are now over 13,700 suspected or confirmed cases of Ebola and the mortality rate is 60-70%, according to the World Health Organization.
What do you think about this nurses refusal to quarantine herself? Do you think the state should force her to quarantine by legal means? Do you belive forcing her to be quarantines is unconstitutional?
How do you think this will effect other nurses who may want to travel to West Africa to help Ebola patients?
A patient at the UMass Memorial Medical Center--University Campus in Worcester,
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