Nurse hospitalized in Newark publishes scathing account of Ebola isolation

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(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.

Kaci Hickox will undergo a mandatory 21-day quarantine at University Hospital in Newark after returning from Sierra Leone. (Photo: University Hospital)

Kaci Hickox will undergo a mandatory 21-day quarantine at University Hospital in Newark after returning from Sierra Leone. (Photo: University Hospital)

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.”

Read Hickox’s full story here.

7 comments

  • Anthony

    Maybe she should think about the people she will infect and possible kill because she doesn’t want to be in quarantine !

  • Marbeth goscinski

    It is a wonderful thing these doctors and nurses are doing for these poor souls. Too bad though. There must be mandatory quarantine here to protect everyone else. The stakes are too high.

  • Ty Quando

    Such a huge, loving heart for her African patients and such indignation and disdain for her fellow Americans.

  • Idgie Threadgoode

    My family’s lives are more important than her hurt feelings. She talks about watching a child die. She should think about all the ones who would be on HER conscience had she infected them.

  • Omoplata

    Do you idiots even read articles? She wasn’t even complaining about the quarantine. She was complaining about the treatment she was receiving by the people. She makes a very valid point… treat people with human kindness and respect, not criminals. She brings up the boy that died because she can’t imagine him being treated the way she was, just so he would die. You people are ignorant and pathetic. You honestly have more to worry about with the flu than you do fucking Ebola. Stop feeding the fear mongering in the media. You’re not gonna get Ebola. You’re fine. Just don’t make out with sick people and play with their piss and blood. I’m sure that’s easy enough for you, no? Now shut up. And people who talk about catching it from sneezing… no. Unless you are sneezed at directly in the face within a few minutes time, you’re not gonna get it. Ebola cannot survive in the air because it requires fluids to survive and the air dries it out. It’s true that it can go airborne from evolving, but if it did, then you have less to worry about because then it’s more likely treatable because the virus would have to sacrifice its ability to cause illness as seriously as it did prior for the ability to stay in the air longer without being dried out. You know why this is an epidemic in West Africa? The same reason AIDS is. Everyone is so tightly close together, sharing the same rivers of water, pots, bowls, and basically live out in the open in broken ass huts, in a place full of so much heat it causes lots of moisture in the air and on the body. Ebola will not spread in America. End of story. Doubt me? Do some fucking research on the Ebola virus then.

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