Maine Nurse Treats Ebola Patients and Isn’t Quarantined

Judge Rejects Limits Placed on Nurse’s Movements

According to a report from Fox News, “A Maine judge has rejected a request by state officials to quarantine and restrict the movements of nurse Kaci Hickox, who after returning from treating Ebola patients in West Africa defied the state’s quarantine. Judge Charles LaVerdiere initially put out a temporary order imposing some restrictions on Hickox. But on Friday, he issued a new order saying she should only continue daily monitoring and coordinate travel with state officials. But, because she’s not showing symptoms, the judge said she’s not infectious — and would not approve the limits on her movements sought by Maine health officials.”

State Has Not Met Burden of Proof

The judge refused to quarantine Hickox simply because she is showing no signs or symptoms of the virus. Many are not happy with this decision, as those exposed to Ebola often take weeks to show symptoms. The report goes on to share, ‘”The State has not met its burden at this time to prove by clear and convincing evidence that limiting [Hickox’s] movements to the degree requested’ is necessary, the judge wrote. He did order the nurse to immediately notify health officials if any symptoms appear.”

ebola warning

Governor LePage Reluctantly Agrees

In a statement issued by Maine’s Governor Paul LePage, he stated, “My duty to protect the health of the individual, as well as the health and safety of 1.3 million Mainers, is my highest priority. Despite our best effort to work collaboratively with this individual. she has refused to cooperate with us. As Governor, I have done everything I can to protect the health and safety of Mainers. The judge has eased restrictions with this ruling and I believe it is unfortunate. However, the State will abide by law.”

Lawyers Pleased With the Decision

Hickox’s lawyers, Norman Siegel and Steven Hyman, have shared their satisfaction at the judge’s decision, and stated, “An individual who is does not have Ebola symptoms does not pose a public health threat and should not be quarantined.” They feel that the nurse’s rights have been upheld and that she should not have been quarantined since her October 24th return to the United States.

What Do You Think?

For many, this nurse is being very selfish and putting the lives of many Americans in danger. Memes have been created that express the frustration of someone who is so concerned about West Africans with Ebola that they will risk their lives to go and help them, but then show no concern for the Americans which may die from having contact with her. Others feel that this is a victory for citizen’s rights, and that we should have the right not to be held against our will or quarantined without the justification of symptoms. Considering the fact that these symptoms can take weeks to show, and Hickox has only been back for 6 days, this is a fine line to walk. At what point is it okay to take away the rights of one to protect the many? When should we risk the many to protect the rights of one. In protecting the rights of one, are we not protecting the rights of many?