Nurse Kaci Hickox, after quarantine in a tent in New Jersey, questions the science of quarantine policy
She shares her view in an article in Suffolk Law's Journal of Health & Biomedical Law
Six months after making international headlines as the nurse who was involuntarily quarantined after returning home from aiding in the Ebola response in West Africa, Kaci Hickox is speaking out in Suffolk University Law School’s Journal of Health & Biomedical Law. She argues that her experience “revealed deep faults in the United States’ ability to responsibly manage public health crises.”
In the paper, Hickox argues that the U.S. response to Ebola was guided by politics that played on public fear rather than based on medical science and public health principles. That response, she contends, weakened public health and deterred medical personnel from assisting in the response.“My case shows what happens when we let politics and fear triumph science,” Hickox said.
“After five weeks of treating Ebola patients in West Africa, I returned home to chaos and was stripped of my civil rights. I hope that by sharing my story, we can learn from the mistakes that were made in the U.S. response to the Ebola outbreak and better prepare our country to handle the next public health crisis.”
Hickox was involuntarily quarantined in a tent in Newark, New Jersey, after returning from treating Ebola patients in Sierra Leone with Doctors Without Borders. Despite having no direct exposure to Ebola, displaying no symptoms of the disease, and testing negative for the disease, Hickox was detained involuntarily until civil rights lawyers were able to intervene on her behalf. She was then restricted to a home-quarantine in Maine until a judge finally ruled that the state of Maine had no grounds to limit her movements.
Hickox gained international attention during her ordeal, as her case became a flashpoint for public debate on the Ebola response. From Meet the Press to Saturday Night Live, Hickox’s story became a centerpiece in the American media. The full paper can be accessed here.