Neighbors of Doctors Without Borders nurse Kaci Hickox launched an online petition Wednesday to keep the nurse, who was exposed to Ebola in West Africa, quarantined in her Maine home for the virus’ 21-day incubation period.
The petition’s author, Jamie Gaskey, says that she was aiming for 1,500 signatures. But thanks to Hickox’s public grandstanding and stubborn insistence on blowing off even a home quarantine, the petition has already run well past that number. As of 10 am Central time Thursday, it has well over 2,000 signatures from all over the country.
Many of those who signed the petition have also offered detailed opinions regarding Hickox’s behavior.
One wrote “Mrs. Hickox should not be allowed to practice as a nurse any longer, or anywhere in the medical field. Her attitude is contentious and her contempt for the quarantine shows a brazen lack of concern for the public’s overall health. Maine needs to lock her up in a quarantined jail cell immediately.”
Another wrote “I am a Respiratory Therapist and a believer in Infection Control. Kaci is a Nurse. She should know better!”
Another says “This very self centered individual has no respect for the laws or safety of the US. The police officers who had to waste their time escorting Kaci Hickox while she had her bike ride should be payed by her! As an American citizen I demand she does the required quarantine voluntary or involuntary (!!!) and she deserves to be punished for not obeying the laws!”
That’s referring to Hickox’s decision to leave her house and go on a bike ride this morning. CNN, other networks and the police accompanied her.
One nurse practitioner questioned Hickox’s motives.
“I applaud this individual for her care of others in other countries but as a NP I would go into voluntary or mandatory Quarantine to protect others, the nurses’s in Texas wore protection and still were infected. This is just for a moment of fame.”
Another medical professional agreed: “I work in a medical clinic and would gladly self-quarantine in this situation. Too many unknowns with Ebola at this point.”
One pointed out that Hickox is setting a poor example: “As a health worker she is an example to the rest of us. If she doesn’t comply no one else will feel the need to and this disease can get way out of control.”
Others pointed out that US troops returning from the Ebola zone are having to be quarantined. Those troops are not complaining about it, even though they had no choice when President Obama ordered them to go. Hickox chose to go to West Africa, and knew the risks.
Nurse Hickox and, especially, Dr. Craig Spencer are the reason that we’re probably going to have to have mandatory quarantines at some point. The “honor system” is insufficient. Spencer knew that he had been exposed to Ebola yet he went all over town partying it up in New York, even while he was beginning to show symptoms. Then he lied to police about his activities. Police had to retrace all of his movements, which is time-wasting and very expensive.
Hickox is not symptomatic now and odds are she does not have Ebola, however, she was exposed to it and symptoms do not always present themselves quickly. As Hickox knows, it can take 21 days for symptoms to appear.