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New York Doctor Gets Ebola

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Published on: October 24, 2014

Another doctor who was in West Africa treating Ebola patients has now been diagnosed with Ebola; this time the doctor is in none other than New York City. Dr. Craig Spencer, who treated Ebola patients in Guinea under Doctors Without Borders, developed a 103 F temperature and gastrointestinal symptoms on Thursday morning. He had returned from Guinea ten days ago. He was rushed to Bellevue Hospital in an ambulance, attended by health care workers in hazmat suits, and placed in isolation. He tested positive for Ebola that evening.

The day prior to his symptom development, Dr. Spencer traveled from Manhattan to a Brooklyn bowling alley on the subway and returned home via an Uber cab. Dr. Spencer did not quarantine himself in any way upon his return to the United States. Now, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is attempting to track down anyone he may have come in contact with.

So much for being able to contain Ebola in the United States when our own physicians act recklessly, negligently, and irresponsibly.

It should not have to be said that health care professionals who treat Ebola patients under any circumstances should undergo a quarantine and isolation period of at least 42 days as recommended by the World Health Organization in order to monitor for symptoms of Ebola. As a physician, Dr. Spencer should know better. Nurses should also know better after health care workers in Africa wearing hazmat protection have become infected with the Ebola virus. One has to wonder if health care professionals nowadays are getting their degrees from a Cracker Jack box.

Not only does the city have to find anyone he came in contact with, they must now locate the subway car, individuals in the subway car riding with Spencer, anyone riding after Spencer vacated the car for as long as the car was in service, the cab and cab driver, any passenger who rode in the cab after Spencer, individuals inside and outside the bowling alley, and those he came in contact with a few days prior. The city then has to locate individuals who came in contact with individuals who exposed because of Spencer. Spencer’s arrogance has now exposed who knows how many individuals to the deadly Ebola virus. His lack of concern for anyone but himself has been exhibited through his actions.

It is a tragedy this doctor who gave of his time to help treat Ebola patients has been stricken with this deadly, contagious disease; however, he knew the risk. Instead of acting responsibly before leaving Guinea and after returning home, this man chose to go about life as usual. Now, he has potentially exposed and infected dozens of individuals. This is unacceptable. Spencer should be held personally responsible for any individuals who contracts the virus because of contact with him.

Not only has the man been professionally negligent, he has been criminally negligent as well. It seems he does not take the mantra, “Above all, do no harm,” to heart. Knowing he had been exposed to the Ebola virus because of his work with Doctors Without Borders, Dr. Spencer had an obligation and responsibility to ensure he was not infected before coming into contact with other individuals. He failed.

And to think, these are the health care “professionals” in which Americans trust to provide safe, effective medical care.

There is no defense for Dr. Craig Spencer. He cannot claim he didn’t know the risk. He cannot claim he didn’t know to quarantine. He cannot claim “plausible deniability.” This man is a medical doctor who was on the front-line treating Ebola patients. It is his duty, professional responsibility and obligation to know. Even if he used hazmat protection, the risk was there. He knew it. He did not follow any quarantine or isolation procedures upon his return. He is responsible for the added costs to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene in man hours needed to identify individuals who may now be infected and other expenditures made by the city and state because of his negligence and recklessness.

If any individual contracts Ebola because of contact with Spencer and dies, he is ultimately responsible for their death and the family should take appropriate legal action. Dr. Spencer should also have his license to practice medicine revoked by the issuing state with the stipulation he should not be allowed to obtain another medical license in any other state in the United States. Nurses have had their licenses revoked and prevented from practicing for far less than patient endangerment.

Not only is Spencer personally responsible, Obama, Dr. Tom Frieden, every member of Congress and employees of departments and agencies that could have imposed travel restrictions are responsible and should be held accountable. It is because of their inaction due to politics that has led to these individuals being exposed.

One has to wonder how these people sleep at night and look themselves in the mirror. Obama and his ilk rant on and on about “saving just one child” when it comes to gun violence in order to enact some type of gun control legislation. However, where is their concern for the children who may have been exposed to the Ebola virus because of their inaction and the recklessness of Dr. Spencer and other health care workers who have ignored quarantine and isolation guidelines? There doesn’t seem to be any, does there?

It is obvious the federal government under Obama is uninterested in protecting our nation from a pandemic. Because of the inaction of the federal government to impose travel restrictions, which is well within their authority, the responsibility then falls to the medical professionals to exercise sound medical judgment, high levels of responsibility and measures to limit further exposure. All that can be said of medical professionals concerning their obligation to the community regarding the containment of Ebola is if Dr. Spencer and Amber Vinson are the type of medical professionals that are providing care to Americans today, God help us all because we are definitely in trouble.

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