Published By: 1World Online
The Ebola, health care worker, quarantine debate is reaching a feverish pitch. And it is one that has the potential to become a bigger issue than the spread of the disease itself.
Should we have expected anything less?
Politics, civil rights violations and lawyers have a sneaky way of creeping their way into everything and Ebola is no exception. Once again, medicine and politics finds themselves cohabitating into a dysfunctional and destructive relationship.
Forget that people cannot become infectious unless they are actually ill. It also doesn’t matter that a few health care workers have already proved that they cannot be trusted to self-quarantine themselves for 21-days.
There are bigger issues at hand here – like who doesn’t want to be inconvenienced and who should have more privileges than others.
Quarantine him, but don’t you dare quarantine me.
Ebola? Forget that – there are bowling dates to observe, weddings to go to and jogging in the park. Who has the time for waiting around to see if that nasty, little virus has found a new home?
Here are three important facts that are being ignored by those who say that Ebola, healthcare workers don’t need to be quarantined:
1. Ebola healthcare workers being monitored for 21-days can become infectious at any moment. That could be while at home, in a bowling alley, a bridal shop or on the NYC subway system. Vomit, diarrhea and fevers are not going to wait to attack until the patient returns home.
2. Two out of the three health care workers who caught Ebola did not follow the extra precautions when suggested to do so by the CDC. Also, an NBC news crew who returned from West Africa were out ordering food days later and walking around the streets of Princeton, New Jersey – as Governor Chris Christie noted a few days ago.
What confidence does that give us to ease our minds that other healthcare workers will observe guidelines?
3. President Obama himself signed “Executive Order 13295” giving the Federal government the right to detain and quarantine any person or groups of persons for health concern reasons – like an Ebola outbreak. So why is anyone screaming about civil rights violations?
4. The United States military has announced today that they are considering quarantines for all the soldiers and other personnel working in Ebola-stricken, West Africa before returning home. This includes even soldiers who have no direct contact with patients.
So why do health care workers treating Ebola patients in America believe they should be treated any differently? It makes no sense and projects a callous approach by those who have sworn to protect the medical welfare of the public.
America is proud of all the health care workers in America and West Africa, who are putting their lives on the line daily to help stop the spread of Ebola. But if we start making exceptions for certain individuals or groups of workers than we will compromise the lives of everyone and enable the disease to spread rapidly.
The quarantine of Ebola health care workers should be no different than for anyone else who has come in contact with an Ebola patient.
Ebola doesn’t discriminate, so the rules of quarantine shouldn’t discriminate either.
Joseph E. Rathjen is a freelance writer and an Opinion Writer at 1World Online – America’s Fastest Growing Social Research Engine.