Saturday, November 15, 2014

Medical Double Standard

Recently highly trained medical professionals fighting on the front lines of what may become a major epidemic have been slapped with 21 day jail sentences until they can prove that they do not represent a threat to the communities they are trying to save. The rules for surviving Ebola are fairly simple, as long as you do not show symptoms you are safe to be around. Conversely, the moment you show symptoms is the time you need immediate medical care.

This actually is a very generous effect of this deadly disease compared to others with lengthy incubation periods without symptoms. Add to that, the fact that the people on our shores with this disease have mostly come from the red zone with experience and training in how to discern the symptoms and how to treat them in a timely manner. It seems that the treatment these virtual prisoners have received is savage and unwarranted and may undermine our efforts to stop it in Africa because of a lack of qualified medical specialists.

The fear of contagion is based on two very simple facts, in Africa if you are identified as carrying Ebola your life goes to hell because they do not have the resources to even feed the sick, let alone isolate them. Over here we are willing to pick up and carry single cases at massive expense to treat them with the most advanced and sophisticated medical resources on the planet.

Here's the thing, unless we are willing to devote the same resources in Africa to curb and arrest this outbreak that we are deploying here for the few and the brave, we will, absolutely, have a massive epidemic on our shores before the end of next year. In a land where extravagant excesses are the norm, we seem unable to understand that the fate of our country is hinging on the price of three square meals a day and effective isolation systems in a dusty and corrupt country we may not have heard about until now.

But even then, our country is medically stupid beyond the imagining of even an African child begging for his life. We are willing to legislate intelligent adults into home arrest but refuse to make the basic effort to protect our most vulnerable and those that surround them by not putting the parents and the children in isolation for those who will not vaccinate their own.This for their protection and the salvation of others around them.

It is a puzzle which we must resolve before there are consequences beyond a nurse in Maine requiring her freedom from medical persecution by ignorant legislators.

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