This morning, America freaked out when Nurse Kaci Hickox broke quarantine to go for a bike ride with her boyfriend.
What I want to know is this: why is anyone surprised?
We only know who Kaci Hickox is because she has spent the last week raising a big stink about quarantine and how it’s unfair and inconvenient and uncomfortable and stuff.
(I refuse to believe she had any understanding of the Constitutional angle prior to her conversation with an attorney.)
She doesn’t believe that she should have been quarantined in the first place, and clearly only agreed to voluntary quarantine because she wanted to be allowed to go home.
She flat out told the world she fully intended to break quarantine.
“I don’t plan on sticking to the guidelines. I remain appalled by these home quarantinte policies that have been forced upon me.”
I’m tempted to start making phone calls. Based on the way she has responded to efforts made solely to protect others from possible exposure to an extremely deadly virus, I’m not sure I believe that she has any understanding of medicine whatsoever.
Full disclosure: my medical experience is limited to my training and work as an x-ray tech in the Army, but we were trained as field medics first and techs second. All hospital training included classes in infection control and bloodborne pathogens.
In five years, I worked with patients who carried tuberculosis. I worked with multiple MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) patients, and patients who carried viral pneumonia and meningitis. We were able to prevent these patients from spreading those diseases because we followed aseptic procedures and quarantined these patients upon diagnosis.
But here’s what truly terrifies me in regards to Ms. Hickox: Dr. Ken Brantly isolated himself the moment he felt off. He developed symptoms and a fever, and yet his first test for Ebola came back negative. He didn’t test positive until he was a few days symptomatic.
What does this mean in a case like “nurse” Hickox? It means that she could develop symptoms, and based on a negative test, claim she doesn’t have Ebola and demand that quarantine is too oppressive. And she could be symptomatic and contagious for several days before a test would yield a positive result.
Maybe nurses should have to swear the Hippocratic Oath after all.