Ebola Nurse Suing Christie over Quarantine
A nurse held for three days in quarantine at a Newark hospital last year after aiding Ebola patients in West Africa has filed suit against Governor Christie and members of his administration, saying they violated her constitutional rights by holding her against her will without due process.
The nurse, Kaci Hickox, had spent a month in Sierra Leone treating Ebola patients and training other health workers for Doctors Without Borders. When she returned home on Oct. 24 and landed at Newark Liberty International Airport, she became the first health worker ensnared in the Christie administration’s new policy to impose a 21-day mandatory quarantine on travelers arriving from Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea who had come in contact with Ebola patients.
“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,” Hickox said Thursday via skype from her home in Oregon.
“It was clear to me that politicians and in particular Governor Christie were really reacting out of fear,” she said. “When you choose to detain someone out of fear that’s discrimination.”
The incident occurred last fall amid growing national worries about Ebola reaching the United States from West Africa, where an outbreak has killed more than 11,300 people and infected more than 28,500, according to the World Health Organization. Before Hickox’s return to the United States, a Liberian national who was visiting Texas died of Ebola at a Dallas hospital and Craig Spencer, a Manhattan doctor who had worked with Ebola patients in Guinea, set off a health scare in New York City after he rode the subway and visited a bowling alley while sick from the disease, though he didn’t yet know he had the virus. He has since recovered.