Tags: Ebola Outbreak | nurse | Newark | quarantine | Ebola

Nurse Scared by Ebola Quarantine as 'No One Seemed to be In Charge'

By    |   Saturday, 25 Oct 2014 05:45 PM

A Texas nurse who served with Doctors Without Borders in Sierra Leone is furious and frustrated over the disorganized, demeaning and threatening way she was treated by health care officials when she returned to the U.S.

Kaci Hickox arrived at Newark Liberty International Airport and walked into a six-hour nightmare.

"This is not a situation I would wish on anyone, and I am scared for those who will follow me. I am scared about how health care workers will be treated at airports when they declare that they have been fighting Ebola in West Africa. I am scared that, like me, they will arrive and see a frenzy of disorganization, fear and, most frightening, quarantine," she told the Dallas Morning News.

Upon arrival, Hickox was channeled into the airport quarantine area, where frightening, unidentified people in masks and protective clothing, some from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, even one from immigration wearing a firearm, peppered her with questions and repeatedly took her temperature.

"No one seemed to be in charge. No one would tell me what was going on or what would happen to me," she told the Dallas Morning News. "I wondered what I had done wrong."

Illinois, New York and New Jersey have instituted a mandatory quarantine period of 21 days for medical workers returning from Libera, Guinea or Sierra Leone.

The mandatory quarantine was triggered after Dr. Craig Spencer returned from working with Ebola patients in Guinea and, though self-monitoring, came down with Ebola symptoms. He has been quarantined at Bellevue Hospital in New York City.

Under the current guidelines of the Obama administration, which has refused to issue a travel ban to the U.S. from West Africa or order national quarantine procedures. he did everything right, but still may have infected others, so New York and New Jersey acted on their own.

"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."

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, told Bloomberg Television, “He went into West Africa to help people who have Ebola. You gotta love a person like that, but for them to come back, and then be out in the public in such a populous city like New York City. I think that scares a lot of people.”

U.S. military personnel in West Africa will be quarantined for 10 days there and monitored for 21 additional days when they return home, Bloomberg News reported.

Hickox has been CDC-trained in handling epidemics and has worked in Myanmar and Nigeria with DWB, the University of Texas Arlington noted.

She was given only a granola bar and water during her stay at the airport in Newark and, eventually, was escorted by eight police cars to University Hospital in Newark, where her blood tested negative for the Ebola virus and her temperature was normal. However, she remains in quarantine.

Hickox's mother, Karen Hickox, told the New York Times her daughter was crying when they spoke, and being held in a tent at the hospital without being told when she was allowed to leave.

"I think the frustration is that she went and did her good deed and her passion and her serving spirit, and she comes back to America and I just don’t feel they were very welcoming," she told the Times.

On her last night in Sierra Leone, Hickox said, "It was the hardest night of my life. I watched a young girl die in a tent, away from her family," the Dallas Morning News reported.

"With few resources and no treatment for Ebola, we tried to offer our patients dignity and humanity in the face of their immense suffering.

"We need more health care workers to help fight the epidemic in West Africa. The U.S. must treat returning health care workers with dignity and humanity."

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A Texas nurse who served with Doctors Without Borders in Sierra Leone is furious and frustrated over the disorganized, demeaning and threatening way she was treated by health care officials when she returned to the U.S. Kaci Hickox arrived at Newark Liberty International...
nurse, Newark, quarantine, Ebola
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2014-45-25
Saturday, 25 Oct 2014 05:45 PM
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