The Current Crisis – Ebola Comes to the Land of Litigation

Lying About

President Obama has appointed a political operative, a lawyer, to be the “Ebola czar,” while the Surgeon General and Secretary of Health and Human Resources remain in hiding. Dr. Craig Spencer, who lies in a Bellevue Hospital isolation ward, lied about his travels about New York City when talking to the New York City authorities. He claimed to have been in voluntary quarantine and isolation at his Manhattan home upon returning from West Africa. Jamie Schram & Bruce Golding, “Ebola doctor ‛lied’ about NYC travelsNY Post (Oct. 29, 2014) (“The city’s first Ebola patient initially lied to authorities about his travels around the city following his return from treating disease victims in Africa, law-enforcement sources said.”) We now know he used the subways, ate at public restaurants, and generally cavorted about town.

Foolish Consistencies and Some Inconsistency, Too

President Obama has pressured Governors Christie and Cuomo to back off their stricter quarantine rules, and demonstrated that Cuomo is politically soft in the center. At the same time that the Obama’s administration has bullied critics of its voluntary quarantine protocol, they have imposed mandatory quarantine on military personnel, returning from West Africa. Secretary of War Defense has announced a mandatory quarantine. See Starr, “Hagel announces mandatory Ebola quarantineCNN (Oct. 29, 2014). Ah, our leaders would follow Ralph Waldo Emerson, on Self-Reliance and self-quarantine: “[a] foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall.”

Australia has banned travel with Ebola affected countries, which should now include the United States. Michelle Nichols and Umaru Fofana, “Australia bans travel from Ebola-hit countries; U.S. isolates troopsReuters (Oct. 28, 2014). Of course, Australia was settled by criminals, as we all know.

Wild Nurse Hickox

Voluntary quarantine is a quaint notion. A healthcare worker takes his or her temperature twice a day, but fevers come on, when they come on. Nurse Kaci Hickox, whose “human rights” were supposedly violated by Order of Governor Christie, has been removed to Maine, whence she has announced her attention to violate Maine’s lax rule that requires voluntary quarantine. Jennifer Levitz, “Nurse in Ebola Quarantine Flap Says She Won’t Obey Maine’s Isolation Rules: Kaci Hickox Says She Will Go to Court if Restrictions Aren’t Removed by ThursdayWall Street Journal (Oct. 29, 2014). So much for the human rights of Maine’s good citizens, not to mention the rights of the moose, and other innocent species.

The litigation industry is, I am sure, gearing up to meet the crisis. And Nurse Hickox is now be free to litigate her voluntary quarantine in Maine.

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