Hickox files suit against Governor Christie and members of his administration, saying they violated her constitutional rights by holding her against her will without due process. She is seeking $250,000 in compensatory and punitive damages, $2,000 for each hour of her 80-hour detention, after arriving back from Sierra Leone, plus extra for punitive damages.
I felt completely alone and vulnerable…It was really hard. I had a lot of tough moments.We are filing this claim to hold those who made this decision accountable and also to highlight and fight against the lack of due process in the quarantine policy in New Jersey. It was clear to me that politicians and in particular Governor Christie were really reacting out of fear. When you choose to detain someone out of fear that’s discrimination.
Christie does not comment.
In an op-ed in The Guardian, Hickox says:
I never had Ebola. I never had symptoms of Ebola. I tested negative for Ebola the first night I stayed in New Jersey governor Chris Christie’s private prison in Newark. I am now past the incubation period – meaning that I will not develop symptoms of Ebola. I never had Ebola, so please stop calling me “the Ebola Nurse” – now!
Like many aid workers, I went to West Africa to respond to the Ebola outbreak because it was the most essential struggle about which I knew I could do something. I spent four of the most difficult weeks of my life fighting against a disease that destroys people of all ages and physical strengths. I witnessed men, women and children – who days earlier were strong and full of life – struggle to hold a glass of water to their lips. I worked in an Ebola case management center where our beds were constantly filled and so many others suffering from Ebola in West Africa needed help, but the capacity was lacking; we need many more people to go and help.
Like me, most workers who return from helping to care for Ebola patients will thankfully never develop symptoms of Ebola, and US policy needs to reflect that truth rather than stoke fears that someone could get sick.
Nobody should’ve had to watch me ride my bicycle out in the open as politicians fed the public false fears and misinformation. I want to live in an America that reaches out to aid workers as they return from West Africa and says, “We loved and stood by you when you were fighting this disease. We will love and stand by you now.”
We can define compassion, instead of being ruled by fear and fear-mongers.
A document released by the state of Maine indicates Hickox’s roommate had Ebola:
The respondent’s roommate in Africa became infected without knowing how she became infected with Ebola. (Any potential risk to respondent from that incident has passed)
Hickox gives an interview to media after the state judge rules that she won’t have to stay in quarantine. She says she will comply with the court’s recommendations including direct monitoring.
I’m very satisfied…It’s just a good day.
District Court Chief Judge Charles LaVerdiere rejects Hickox’s quarantine order but orders her to submit to “direct active monitoring,” coordinate travel with public health officials and immediately notify health authorities should symptoms appear. Hickox tells reporters the decision is a “good compromise” and that she would continue to comply with direct active monitoring.
I know that Ebola is a scary disease. have seen it face-to-face. I know we are nowhere near winning this battle. We’ll only win this battle as we continue this discussion, as we gain a better collective understanding about Ebola and public health, as we overcome the fear and, most importantly, as we end the outbreak that is still ongoing in West Africa today.
LaVerdiere praises Hickox for lending her skills “generously, kindly and with compassion” to “aid, comfort and care” for Ebola patients.
We owe her and all professionals who give of themselves in this way a debt of gratitude.
A 24-hour court order limits Hickox’s ability to travel, mandates that she keep a three-foot buffer when meeting other people, and bans her from public places. A further decision will be made by a Maine state court later Friday.
Hickox and her boyfriend step out of their home and ride away on mountain bikes. State health officials decline to comment. Hickox:
It’s a beautiful day for a bike ride
LePage says his office will file a court order to enforce Hickox to follow quarantine procedures. Health and Human Services commissioner:
We are hopeful that the selfless health workers who are brave and caring enough to care for Ebola patients in a foreign country will be willing to take reasonable steps to protect the residents of their own country. However, we will pursue legal authority, if necessary, to ensure risk is minimized for all Mainers. We are in the process of filing that court order.
Two Maine State police cars are reported to be outside the rural home of hickox’s boyfriend in Fort Kent, where she has been living. The governors office says they are stationed there:
for both her protection and the health of the community.
Hickox says she will challenge any court order obtained by the state of Maine to keep her isolated until Nov. 10:
They will not allow me to leave my house and have any interaction with the public, even though I am completely healthy and symptom-free….then I will challenge those legal actions. I’m not willing to stand here and let my civil rights be violated when it’s not science-based.
In a Skype call with Matt Lauer, Hickox, who does not have any symptoms of the deadly virus, says she will not abide by quarantine rules that she said were “not scientifically nor constitutionally just.” According to Hickox’s attorney, she had only agreed to remain home for two days after arriving from New Jersey.
I don’t plan on sticking to the guidelines. I am not going to sit around and be bullied by politicians and forced to stay in my home when I am not a risk to the American public.
Northern Maine Medical Center says Hickox had originally agreed to a 21-day quarantine, and that her boyfriend, Ted Wilbur, had also agreed to a self-quarantine for 21 days. There is no word on whether he would abide by quarantine for the full period. Two state police cars have been stationed outside Wilbur’s home, in Fort Kent, where she has been living.
Hickox says she will take legal action against the State of Maine if they enforce the current quarantine order, during an interview on ABC News.
I remain really concerned by these mandatory quarantine policies. I think we are only adding to stigmatization that again is not based on science or evidence. I will go to court to attain my freedom.
Health care officials say the decision to isolate Hickox is based on panic, not science. NYU bioethicist:
The flu kills 5,000 people per year. If we want to freak out about something, that’s what we should be freaking out about.
Hickox is released from the tent outside University Hospital where she was being held in quarantine, and is allowed to take private transport home to Maine. Statement:
Since testing negative for Ebola on early Saturday morning, the patient being monitored in isolation at University Hospital in Newark has thankfully been symptom free for the last 24 hours. As a result, and after being evaluated in coordination with the CDC and the treating clinicians at University Hospital, the patient is being discharged.
Lawyers for Hickox say they are planning to have her removed from quarantine by filing a constitutional challenge to the mandatory quarantine orders. Siegel:
We believe that the medical experts should be directing these policies, not the politicians.
Pressure from the White House is reported to be behind Hickox’s release from quarantine. Administration official:
We have let the governors of New York, New Jersey, and others states know that we have concerns with the unintended consequences of policies not grounded in science may have on efforts to combat Ebola at its source in West Africa.
We have also let these states know that we are working on new guidelines for returning healthcare workers that will protect the American people against imported cases, while, at the same time, enabling us to continue to tackle this epidemic in West Africa.
In a phone call with CNN, Hickox criticizes the way she has been treated.
For the first 12 hours, I was in shock. Now I’m angry…It’s really inhumane….To quarantine everyone, in case, you know, when you cannot predict who may develop Ebola or not, and to make me stay for 21 days, to not be with my family, to put me through this emotional and physical stress, is completely unacceptable. I feel like my basic human rights have been violated. To put me through this emotional and physical stress is completely unacceptable.
She also criticizes Chris Christie:
I heard from my mother last night who called me concerned and said, Governor Christie just said in an interview that you were quote-unquote ‘obviously ill’. And this is so frustrating to me. First of all, I don’t think he’s a doctor. And secondly, he’s never laid eyes on me. And thirdly, I have been asymptomatic since I’ve been here. I feel physically completely strong and emotionally completely exhausted. But for him to say I’m ‘obviously ill’, which is even a strange thing, that, what does that mean? Someone define that for me, because I think I don’t quite understand what ‘obviously ill’ means.
Hickox writes an op-ed for the Dallas Morning News about her quarantine:
I am scared about how health care workers will be treated at airports when they declare that they have been fighting Ebola in West Africa. I am scared that, like me, they will arrive and see a frenzy of disorganization, fear and, most frightening, quarantine.
Healthcare workers say Hickox has tested negative for the virus.
The ACLU raises questions over the legality of the quarantine orders in New York and New Jersey after Hickox is quarantined. ACLU:
We understand the importance of protecting the public from an Ebola outbreak [but the mandatory isolation rules] raise serious constitutional concerns about the state abusing its police powers by detaining people who are exhibiting no Ebola symptoms.
The health worker is quarantined at University Hospital after recording a high temperature. She doesn’t show Ebola symptoms but is isolated under the mandatory isolation rules after revealing that she has been in Sierra Leone and had contact with Ebola patients. She is the first person to be quarantined under the rules.