Little Rant: Governor Christie's Quarantine

I am sure that almost everyone is aware of the debate regarding Kaci Hickox’s quarantine in New Jersey. I am not here to discuss whether or not medical personnel returning from West Africa, or anyone coming to the United States from that area, should be quarantined. That’s for others with medical training to decide. My rant is about the setup created for quarantining Ms. Hickox.

Governor Christie is busy trying to point all attention to the health status of the nurse. But lets talk about the conditions she was placed under during her quarantine. Ms. Hickox was placed in a tent in a hospital parking lot. There was no heat, even though it’s late October in New Jersey. There was no shower. Her toilet was a box with a seat. What deplorable conditions. We wouldn’t allow prisoners in the United States to be treated this way. It would be considered a violation of the Geneva Convention if this were a war situation. Yet that is the conditions the state of New Jersey provided for someone who sacrificed her time and talents to try to help fight Ebola. Governor Christie should be embarrassed. The state of New Jersey should be embarrassed.

Let’s take a look at this from a healthcare perspective. What if Kaci Hickox did have Ebola? (it appears she does not.) Will improper sanitary conditions and no heat help her body fight the Ebola virus? I am not a trained nurse or doctor, but I am pretty sure the answer is “no”. It would not help.

It’s up to Governor Christie how he runs his state. Thankfully, I do not live there. However, if he is going to create requirements beyond those mandated by the CDC, which he has done. Actually, even if he were going to only meet the minimum standard set by the CDC, he needs to make sure the hospitals in his state are prepared to quarantine people who are at risk for developing Ebola. If the government is going to mandate a quarantine, then they should make sure that the people under quarantine are treated humanely. They should only be taken to locations that can provide a minimum standard of care such as heat and showers. That is the humane thing to do. With Ms. Hickox, the humane thing was definitely not what happened.

Governor Christie has stated that he is sure upon reflection that Ms. Hickox will realize they did the right thing. Hopefully, upon reflection, Governor Christie will realize just how badly the state of New Jersey screwed up. Not because they quarantined Ms. Hickox, although that is still up for discussion, but just how inhumanely they treated her during the quarantine. I stand by my statement that the state of New Jersey should be ashamed. As far as I am concerned, the state of New Jersey owes Ms. Hickox an apology. Hopefully it is issued soon.