Jen has been fascinated by the story of the quarantined tuberculosis patient for the last two days, and she and I talked about it at length this morning. A few things in this story stand out to me/us:

  1. Why didn’t the CDC tell the guy straight out not to fly? I realize they have limited powers over citizens, but I’d think that they would have developed protocols by now to deal with potentially deadly patients/carriers of rare diseases. Report the guy to the Feds and have them haul him in, for god’s sake.
  2. “Speaker said he felt as if the CDC had suddenly ‘abandoned him.'” No, asshole, they were afraid you were going to contaminate even more people. They wanted you to visit a hospital, where your illness could have been treated or stabilized before you got on another plane.
  3. ” …the U.S. border inspector who allowed Speaker back into the country, disregarding a computer warning to stop the man and don protective gear, has been removed from border duty.” That’s Homeland Security, folks. I feel safer already.
  4. Why didn’t his wife tell him to stay home? Her dad works for the CDC, researching tuberculosis, and his dad, a lawyer, was there when the CDC interviewed him. While I freely admit that our government is poorly managed, and most likely gave this man conflicting information, if I knew I had an airborne-spreading illness, I wouldn’t get on an airplane.
  5. “…Additionally, Speaker, a personal injury attorney, could sue the federal government for being quarantined on the basis of federal regulations that some scholars see as unconstitutional.” If that happens, I hope the federal government lets each and every one of those other passengers sue the shit out of this guy.
  6. From CNN: “He flew from Prague to Montreal, apparently in order to sidestep a no-fly order that could have stopped or delayed his return to North America. Once in Canada, Speaker and his wife drove across the border to New York, where he was treated at a hospital…” Sounds to me like he and his family knew exactly what the score was, and decided to put their own self interest (and wedding) in front of everyone else’s health.
  7. He’s a personal injury lawyer. It seems to me that he’d have an even greater appreciation for the consequences of his actions than many other people, who might just claim honest ignorance. The fact that he went ahead anyway shows that the ethics classes he might have taken at the Naval Academy and the University of Georgia didn’t stick too well.
  8. Reasons to postpone a wedding, the short list:
    1. Realization your soon-to-be-partner is in love with someone else.
    2. Alien attack.
    3. Death in the family (has to be nuclear, because Aunt Sadie is too far off the tree to count).
    4. Being called to military service.
    5. Typhoon.
    6. Global thermonuclear war.
    7. The check for the reception bounced.
    8. Unexpected delivery of a child.
    9. Infection of an airborne, possibly resistant strain of communicable disease.


Date posted: June 1, 2007 | Filed under travel | Comments Off on Not So Personal Injury.

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