Monday, October 27, 2014

Indiscriminate Decency



I have to admit, I am a little more than miffed that nurse Kaci Hickox whined like a spoiled rotten brat a mere day after being quarantined in New Jersey, thanks to new policies on handling healthcare workers and volunteers coming back from the three infected countries, Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia.  I'm not going to pretend I know what the law does or does not say about quarantines, but the wuss that is New Jersey Governor Chris Christie acquiesced and let her out today, just as he acquiesces when his little boyfriend Barack Obama whines. What was the point of strong-arming the quarantine idea then?  I am convinced the man is a massive waste of airspace.

My first thought of nurse Hickox was that she is behaving like a selfish brat.  But how can she be?  How can someone who travels to the Ebola ravaged country, knowing they are risking their lives to help many others, be selfish?

It is just like Patient Zero Thomas Eric Duncan who carried a dying woman around looking for help, then lied on his health record just before jumping on a plane to the US.  That one irresponsible act brought the deadly virus here and infected two more people on American soil.  Victims to be sure.

It is like nurse Amber Vinson flying to Cleveland after knowing the protocols in Dallas were changing by the day and errors might have been made.  The nurses were working under less than ideal conditions by their own admission to the press. Please do not tell me Vinson felt the ever evolving policies of the CDC were failsafe. 

It is like Doctor Craig Spencer who traipsed around New York City thinking he was impermeable to Ebola, with all his medical knowledge and perceived proper protocol and all. 

Hickox's actions are  no different.  She obviously feels as though she can do what she pleases because her contact with Ebola is perfect in her eyes.

What is really going on here with these acts I've described, is that people are using transference.  The problem is with Ebola and not any possibility that they might be carrying it.  Their mighty thermometer tells them they are fine to be intimate with others.  No conflict there, they have a clear conscience to go about their business without a care in the world. Through transference, they are able to justify contact with others because they no longer own the problem.  Bluntly stated, they are ultimately choosing times when it is convenient to behave like decent human beings, or not.

It's not as if these people are purposely out there hoping to infect someone, that's just crazy talk. These people merely wish to go about their lives as they once did, and we can certainly understand that.  However, they would not go out for a night on the town or fly across the country while having a full-blown case of the flu would they?  One would like to hope not, because it would be wrong to spread it around so easily on a plane to other passengers breathing the same old recycled air or touching the same things you touched.  So why would anyone think it's OK to be in intimate contact with Ebola and assume everything is just peachy?

It is justified because it is not airborne, that we know of, and they are not contagious until they have a fever. Never mind that these people were, 'not quite feeling well' and they continued going out and about, coming into contact with others.  They don't call it the nurse killer in Africa for nothing.

So Hickox is complaining that her rights are being violated, completely negating any of the good deeds she did while in Sierra Leone, in my opinion.  In fact, at this point it's not really about any law or lack of one.  It's about having the common decency to quarantine yourself as part of being a responsible steward on this planet.  Let me repeat that once more because it is the moral of this story.   The name of the game is personal responsibility.

Common decency should dictate that you shouldn't be around others when you are feeling unwell for fear of spreading whatever it is you have, so why wouldn't you willingly accept a quarantine? We don't get to pick and choose when we feel like being good Christians or decent human beings.  Do you go through a red  light at night when there isn't a car in sight?  Do you bring home paperclips from work believing it's not really stealing?  Should you risk others health and safety because you are confident in yourself that you followed all the right protocols and couldn't possibly have Ebola?  I am sure that Vinson and Dr. Spencer thought that too.

Strict quarantines and vigilant tracing are what has stopped Ebola in it's tracks in countries like Senegal and Nigeria.  They are Ebola free by using these simple techniques:  detect early, trace, isolate, treat, strong leadership, and public help. If these countries found isolation so important, why would Hickox or anyone complain about being isolated then? 

Just remember this, we do not have the right to indiscriminately choose when to be decent human beings and when not to because God is always watching.