Judge denies Maine in quarantine effort

 

Image source: bigstory.ap.com

Earlier today, Judge Charles C. LaVerdiere recognized the rights of nurse Kaci Hickox and refused to grant Maine their request to quarantine her in-home.  I understand the fears and concerns that people have about her, but I also understand the science behind her decision to fight being quarantined without need or cause.

As part of the ruling, Judge LaVerdiere wrote, “The State has not met its burden at this time to prove by clear and convincing evidence that limiting Respondent’s movements to the degree requested is “necessary to protect other individuals from the danger of infection,” however.  According to the information presented to the court, Respondent currently does not show any symptoms of Ebola and is therefore not infectious.”

This is a big victory in the eyes of the Constitution, and it should have been a no-brainer.  We can’t be a nation in fear of itself, especially if we’re supposed to be the world’s superpower and the “Exceptional” nation that some claim we are.

We are much better than this, or at least I thought we were.  It’s a difficult decision to balance the need to protect others and not infringe on the rights of people.  At times, those decisions will not make people happy.  This is one of those times where that decision should have been made.  Instead, Gov. LePage tried to go the easy route, and he got his hand spanked by a judge in response to his decision.

Reading the ruling, the judge displays a knowledge and respect for science, respect for the health care professionals fighting Ebola, and concern for the fears of the general public whether those fears are, in his words, rational.

“The Court pauses to make a few critical observations. First, we would not be here today unless Respondent generously, kindly and with compassion lent her skills to aid, comfort, and care for individuals stricken with a terrible disease.  We need to remember as we go through this matter that we owe her and all professionals who give of themselves in this way a debt of gratitude.”

“Having said that, Respondent should understand that the court is fully aware of the misconceptions, misinformation, bad science and bad information being spread from shore to shore in our country with respect to Ebola.  The Court is fully aware that people are acting out of fear and that this fear is not entirely rational. However, whether that fear is rational or not, it is present and it is real.  Respondent’s actions at this point, as a health care professional, need to demonstrate her full understanding of human nature and the real fear that exists.  She should guide herself accordingly.”–Charles C. LaVerdiere Chief Judge, Maine District Court

Just to keep things stirred up, I noticed that Fox News, by way of their official blog, reported that her roommate in Sierra Leone was supposedly treated for Ebola.  I’m not sure where they got that information because I didn’t see it mentioned in the ruling.  Either way, the incubation period from that alleged exposure has already passed anyway, but that little story will undoubtedly stoke the flames of fear even more than they have already been boosted.

If there was ever a time that America needed a common sense vaccine, that time is now.  As long as fear and panic is allowed to rule, the corporate media outlets will push any and every story to gin up that fear and panic because it will boost their ratings.  In their world, boosting ratings means boosting revenue, and the bottom line is always going to take precedence over the byline.  Instead of the fear and panic, our media should be trying to inform and educate.  It may not give them the revenue boost they so desire, but it would go a long way towards getting rid of the unnecessary panic.

A copy of the ruling is posted below.

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6 thoughts on “Judge denies Maine in quarantine effort

  1. Thanks, Brosephus. Have a great Halloween with your girls. I am assuming the newbie is too young. If you can post them, I would enjoy seeing the girls in their costumes, if not on this forum, maybe in my email?

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    • Ooh, me too!

      My grand girls are going as an astronaut and a ghost fairy. (A ghost fairy wears a white sheet with a hole cut in the middle for her head to go through — kind of a toga effect — with fairy wings over it. She has several fancy headdresses, things that feature tiaras and plumes, and she’s been known not to limit herself to just one. A fairy wand will complete the look and give her an excuse to demand that her father carry her goodie bag.)

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  2. Judge has good sense. He can probably afford to; if judges are elected in Maine, chances are he’s running unopposed, as most judges do everywhere they’re elected.

    Governor is probably relieved. This lets him say he tried to take action without his really having to lock a healthy person in her home for three weeks.

    A voluntary quarantine is one thing, and if states wanted to set up a program reimbursing wages and giving a cash award as well to any exposed health care worker who’s willing to stay home for three weeks, I’d support it. A mandatory quarantine without payment, done solely to placate Fox viewers, is wrong.

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    • I think the judge showed remarkable judgement. He acknowledged everything about the case, but his ruling is rooted in the Constitution. There’s no right to treat people bad because of fear written or insinuated in there. That is not a God-given right. That lesson is even detailed in the story of Jesus and the leper.

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