(PIX11) — The Doctors Without Borders nurse who was hospitalized in Newark upon her return from West Africa has published a scathing report about her treatment on dallasnews.com.
Kaci Hickox was the first person to be placed under the new mandatory quarantine after possible Ebola contact that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo implemented Friday. Hickox was caring for Ebola patients in Sierra Leone.
Upon her arrival into Newark Liberty Airport, the University of Texas and Johns Hopkins grad was immediately placed under the 21-day quarantine at a New Jersey hospital, where she’ll be monitored by public health officials.
This is not a situation I would wish on anyone, and I am scared for those who will follow me.
Hickox said she was greeted with a “Hello” and a big smile upon her arrival. But, the immigration official’s less-than-enthusiastic demeanor after she informed him of her grueling travels from Sierra Leone was obvious.
The scene she described next was just short of chaos, saying one official “barked questions” at her like she was a criminal.
He put on gloves and a mask and called someone. Then he escorted me to the quarantine office a few yards away. I was told to sit down. Everyone that came out of the offices was hurrying from room to room in white protective coveralls, gloves, masks, and a disposable face shield.
Tired, hungry and confused, she wrote that she tried to remain calm while her temperature was taken, which read 98 degrees. Four hours after landing, her temperature was taken again, this time with a forehead scanner. When the scanner read 101, she described the look on the female officer’s face as “smug.” But, when her blood was tested for Ebola, the (widely publicized) tests read negative.
I sat alone in the isolation tent and thought of many colleagues who will return home to America and face the same ordeal. Will they be made to feel like criminals and prisoners?
She concluded the account with an anecdote of her last night in Sierra Leone, the “hardest night” of her life when she watched a 10-year-old die of the disease.
With few resources and no treatment for Ebola, we tried to offer our patients dignity and humanity in the face of their immense suffering…The U.S. must treat returning health care workers with dignity and humanity.
Hickox will remain at Newark’s University Hospital for 21 days.
“This is not the time to take chances,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday of the mandatory quarantines along New Jersey’s Gov. Chris Christie.
“This adjustment in increasing the screening procedures is necessary … I think public safety and public health have to be balanced and I think this policy does that.”