Maine Asks Courts to Make Nurse Stay Home

Kaci Hickox objects to 21-day quarantine over Ebola worries
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 29, 2014 5:59 PM CDT
Maine Asks Courts to Make Nurse Stay Home
This Oct. 26 photo provided by attorney Steven Hyman shows nurse Kaci Hickox in an isolation tent at University Hospital in Newark, N.J. She has since been moved to Maine.   (AP Photo/Steven Hyman)

A showdown looms in Maine over the murky question of whether the state can force a nurse to stay home over Ebola fears. The state was filing for a court order to require Kaci Hickox to remain in quarantine, reports CNN. Hickox, who recently treated Ebola patients in West Africa and was briefly quarantined against her will in New Jersey, thinks the isolation period is unnecessary because she's not sick. She has threatened to leave the house tomorrow, raising the prospect that she will be arrested once she walks out the door. "When it is made clear by an individual in this risk category that they do not intend to voluntarily stay at home for the remaining 21 days, we will immediately seek a court order to ensure that they do not make contact with the public," says Maine's health chief.

It's not clear whether a judge will agree to it, however, reports ABC News. Speaking about Ebola today, President Obama didn't mention the Hickox case specifically, but he said states have to be careful not to discourage medical professionals from going overseas to help, reports AP. "We can't hermetically seal ourselves off," he said. As for those health-care workers, he likened them to "our military men and women deploying to West Africa," calling them "American heroes" who should be "treated with dignity and with respect." The Pentagon, meanwhile, said all troops who go to West Africa will have to undergo what the Washington Post calls "quarantine-like" monitoring for 21 days upon their return to the US. Which sounds a lot like what Maine is asking of Hickox. (More President Obama stories.)

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