Social Responsibility, Civil Rights or Ignorance or Arrogance?


Again I will side track my original plan of a discussion of how we get to “Well Care” and what it will look like in our future.


Because I am so disgusted by the attitude of the two healthcare workers who returned to our great country but thought that their individual rights were more important than the law or even more important their social and ethical responsibilities to their fellow residents of their States and of this Country.

I have traveled abroad to volunteer in healthcare and have always realized my responsibility when I returned. To fight the law, the regulations, demanding your civil rights is irresponsible and ignores the “rights of others.”

I know that I may be in the minority of my fellow Hopkins faculty, but someone needs to state the obvious. If those who do the “right thing” and volunteer to assist others in such magnanimous ways, caring for those in need they all need to realize their responsibility go beyond their brief or long visit in a foreign country.

But in these two situations, a doctor and a nurse, to think that they don’t have to follow the same rules that the troops assisting in West Africa have to adhere to is selfish and irresponsible. To claim that her, Kaci Hickox, civil rights were violated and attempt to sue the states of New Jersey and Maine is ludicrous and she should have her nursing license revoked. Dr. Craig Spencer’s actions and attitude, taking Uber, the train, bowling and eating at a local restaurant shows poor judgment and is a poor role model for those of us in our very special profession.

Do they think that their rights are more important than those of the rest of the country or the troops who are not volunteering but who are sent by Presidential orders? How childish and truly unprofessional! Remember that Hagel announced that the troops involved in the “Ebola fight” would be required to be quarantined for 21 days. Who is right?

I don’t care what the clinical research says. We all must follow the laws as they apply to everyone and if they disagree with the dictums, they then have the right to show reason to modify them later without causing fear and elevating the appearance of crisis among the rest of the populace.

I do admire those who volunteer to go to foreign countries to help. Most of the volunteers are doing it for the correct reasons. But there are many that want the notoriety, the front page. There are many situations here in our own country that would benefit from their volunteer days, weeks and months of volunteer aid.

Another question that bothers me is what are the other countries out there doing to assist the West African countries in need? Are we the only country that 1. Needs to be the volunteers and 2. That we need to send in to perform as police to solve all the problems in the world?

Look at the financial investment and man/womanpower investment. The other countries relish our attitude, which takes the onus off their collective conscious and conserves their economies.

What is so obvious in all this discussion of who is right and whose rights are more important is the total lack of leadership. There is no real direction from the President to the CDC voice, to Homeland Security to…….. Oh yes where is the Acting Surgeon General and the Ebola Czar… with no healthcare experience what is he doing…directing, organizing what????

I do agree that mandatory quarantines will provide only illusionary safety unless for specific reasons, that is positive diagnosis. But could also cause people returning from West Africa to lie about their potential exposure there or coming into our country through some alternative routes. But lack of leadership and professional communication of the correct protocols also presents confusion as to who and what to believe.

What happens if a terrorist decides to bring in an “Ebola bomber” to spread death and panic? What will happen to those Americans confused and the doubting Thomases and how will they behave? Will it be the same situation seen in the villages in West Africa?

Also consider that in the New England Journal of Medicine report that 13% of victims in the current Ebola outbreak did not have a documented fever. So, can we then assume that we only quarantine people who have a fever and what do we classify as a fever..100.3…101.3 or 103.1?

I still stick with my original premise, if you volunteer to go to a country to treat patients with contagious disease, you must abide by the rules and laws as laid out.

If you think your individual rights are more important, don’t volunteer!

I want to take a minute to lower our collective heads for Brittany Maynard who died today.

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