Oct 30, 2014

What Captain Kirk and Spock Knew that Kaci Hickox Doesn’t

Picture from University of Texas at Arlington

Picture from University of Texas at Arlington

Since the arrival, diagnosis, treatment, and death of the first person in the U.S. to have Ebola, Thomas Eric Duncan, fear has traveled faster and quicker than the disease…thankfully! Much of the reason is that we here in the U.S. feel we are immune (sorry, no pun intended) to what happens to the rest of the world. Remember when you were a teenager? You felt like nothing could stop you. You were invincible. You were the closest thing to being immortal here on earth. We’re like that here in the U.S. So, when the first person with Ebola was confirmed to be here, many were shocked! Add to that the information coming from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital and it seemed as though the seed for a widespread outbreak of Ebola was imminent. What’s true and what’s not regarding the events that led up to Mr. Duncan being treated and released the first time he went to the hospital, I’m not sure we’ll ever know for sure. What happened during his second visit and eventual being admitted to the hospital may remain a ‘he said, she said’ scenario. What we do know is that two of the health care workers that assisted Mr. Duncan contracted the disease, were treated, and are assumed to be fine now. The fear also continues because of the unknown and because of the conflicting information that’s readily available. Can we catch Ebola as an airborne virus? I’ve seen reports from doctors at prestigious universities say, “Very likely”. Others have said that we can only catch it by direct contact with bodily fluids. Then, why didn’t Thomas Duncan’s fiancee contract Ebola? I’m not wishing it upon anyone. I’m just wondering, because, if the CDC is so sure they have a handle on the disease now (certainly NOT in the beginning), doesn’t it make sense that there was a lot of physical contact between Duncan and his fiancee after he had been away for some time overseas and that, at the very least, she came in contact with his sweat?

Enter Kaci Hickox. A health care worker that spent time in Africa assisting people that have Ebola. A real sacrifice to be away from her own family and in a foreign country in order to help people with this deadly and very contagious disease. Over 10,000 people have contracted the disease and almost 5,000 have died from it. From her actions, Kaci Hickox seems to be a very caring and helpful person. Ironically, she chooses to take a different attitude after returning to the U.S. She feels that being asked by Governor Chris Christie to be quarantined for 21 days that her civil rights are being violated. She says she bases her belief on the fact that her being quarantined isn’t “science-based”. From what I observe through the media, there isn’t a whole lot of “science-based” information available. The CDC is still trying to find it’s way after creating a laundry list of uneducated and disastrous mistakes at the beginning. How can Kaci Hickox speak so confidently on something the entire Medical Community seems to be still learning about?

Regardless of all that, even if what is she stating could be scientifically proven to be true, why wouldn’t she quarantine herself for the peace-of-mind of others? She’s at home and not being deprived of anything she needs. She sacrificed to help others overseas, but is unwilling to relinquish 3 weeks out of her life for the peace-of-mind of others.

Kaci Hickox can take a lesson from Star Trek. Remember when the characters Spock and Captain Kirk saw that there was a choice to be made between Spock’s own welfare and that of everyone else aboard the Enterprise? With the Enterprise (spaceship) in imminent danger of destruction, Spock enters a highly radioactive chamber in order to fix the ship’s drive so the crew can escape danger. As Spock is perishing, he says to Kirk, “Don’t grieve, Admiral. It is logical. The needs of the many outweigh . . .” Kirk finishes for him, “The needs of the few.” Spock replies, “Or the one.” A lesson Kaci Hickox, and others, should learn from. Another group of people who Kaci and others can learn from are out military personnel and veterans. These people sacrifice their ability to move about as they wish for at least four years…AND they don’t have the potential to cause other people to get a deadly disease! They voluntarily commit themselves to be “quarantined” in the military lifestyle for at least four years to give us peace-of-mind.

So, Ms. Hickox, if you want the sacrifices you made overseas to help people to keep the value they once had, show some sacrifice and concern for those of us here in your own country, even if you believe it is just our emotions infringing on your civil liberties and not “science-based”. If our military personnel and Spock can resist being narcissistic, I believe you can, too.

Creating life in forward motion,
Dr. Edward Lewellen