Cheers for Kaci Hickox

November 3, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


Kaci Hickox is one of the courageous health care professionals who left a relatively comfortable life in her home in Maine to work with Doctors Without Borders to treat Ebola victims in Sierra Leone—one of three African countries stricken by the epidemic. When she returned to the U.S. on Friday, October 24, she became the first person forced into New Jersey's mandatory quarantine for people arriving at the Newark airport from three West African countries. This went against all medical science and scientific understanding of how Ebola spreads. Kaci had no symptoms of Ebola which means that there was no danger of her spreading the disease.

Kaci Hickox. Photo: AP

After New Jersey Governor Chris Christie backed down and allowed her to leave New Jersey, Kaci Hickox announced she would defy moves to confine her to her home in Maine and on Thursday, October 30, went on a bike ride. She told reporters, "I'm not willing to stand here and let my civil rights be violated when it's not science-based." By the end of the week, a court order had voided the quarantine orders for Kaci Hickox.

Speaking of being confined in an "isolation tent" in New Jersey without any medical basis, Kaci Hickox wrote, "I had spent a month watching children die, alone. I had witnessed human tragedy unfold before my eyes. I had tried to help when much of the world has looked on and done nothing.

"I sat alone in the isolation tent and thought of many colleagues who will return home to America and face the same ordeal. Will they be made to feel like criminals and prisoners?"

And she insisted, "The epidemic continues to ravage West Africa. Recently, the World Health Organization announced that as many as 15,000 people have died from Ebola. We need more health care workers to help fight the epidemic in West Africa. The U.S. must treat returning health care workers with dignity and humanity."

Kaci Hickox is a hero for her service in Sierra Leone, and a hero for standing up to not just her own outrageous treatment, but for providing an inspiring counter to the wave of xenophobia (ignorant hatred and fear of people from other countries), prejudice, and persecution being whipped up by the powers-that-be in the United States.

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