CBS News TB Patient: "I'm Very Sorry"
[Andrew Speaker]'s father, also a lawyer, taped a meeting with the CDC prior to leaving for his honeymoon.
"My father said, 'OK, now are you saying, prefer not to go on the trip because he's a risk to anybody, or are you simply saying that to cover yourself?' And they said, we have to tell you that to cover ourself, but he's not a risk."
Speaker, his new wife and her 8-year-old daughter were already in Europe for the wedding when the CDC contacted him and told him to turn himself in immediately at a clinic there and not take another commercial flight.
Speaker said he felt as if the CDC had suddenly "abandoned him." He said he believed if he did not get back to a specialized clinic in Denver, he would die.
"Before I left, I knew that it was made clear to me, that in order to fight this, I had one shot, and that was going to be in Denver," he said. If doctors in Europe tried to treat him and it went wrong, he said, "it's very real that I could have died there."
Speaker, however, could be sued by fellow airline passengers, especially if any caught the disease from him - which some legal scholars say is much more likely.
"He may be personally liable if someone contracts TB" from being near him on his recent flights to and from Europe, said Peter Jacobson, a University of Michigan professor of public health law. "I can see a jury coming down very hard on someone like that who willfully ignored advice not to travel."
In the past week, Speaker was quarantined in New York City and then again - under guard - at an Atlanta hospital. The quarantine order was not approved by a judge, but rather issued under the CDC's administrative powers.
There's a reason for that, Jacobson said: In certain rare instances, such action is deemed necessary to avoid legal delays in rapidly protecting the public from a disease-carrying person.
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I wonder if any of the CDC officials who issued that order were doctors.
Julie Louise Gerberding, M.D., M.P.H., "CDC Director, Julie Louise Gerberding, MD, MPH has been leading the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Administrator of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) since July 2002. She also serves as a Clinical Professor of Medicine at Emory University and an Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of California at San Francisco."
Tanja Popovic, MD, PhD, F(AAM), AM(AAFS), "Tanja Popovic, MD, PhD, CDC's chief science officer, joined the agency in 1989 as a Fulbright Postdoctoral fellow. Since then, she has served as the chief of the Diphtheria Reference Unit, chief of the Epidemiologic Investigations/Anthrax Laboratory, and co-director of the WHO Collaborating Center for Prevention and Control of Bacterial Meningitis. Prior to her position as chief science officer, she served as CDC's associate director for science (Feb 2004 - Jun 2006)."
Stephanie B. Coursey Bailey, MD, MS, "Stephanie B. Coursey Bailey, MD, MS, was known for her ties to CDC long before becoming chief of the Office of Public Health Practice in October 2006. Since 1999, she has worked with CDC on projects, including co-chairing the National PH Workforce Taskforce, serving as a senior consultant for local practice to PHPPO, and serving on the National Advisory Committee for the Elimination of Tuberculosis, among others."
Stephen B. Blount, MD, MPH, "In his current role, Stephen B. Blount, MD, MPH, is responsible for CDC's global health portfolio that includes an annual budget of $900 million, 200 US government staff assigned to 50 countries, and 1,500 locally hired staff and contractors. He provides programmatic and financial oversight for the Global AIDS Program; global immunization and disease eradication activities;, malaria, tuberculosis, and tobacco control efforts; and international training programs. Dr. Blount is the lead strategist for CDC's global activities and manages key partnerships with ministries of health, other US government agencies, UN organizations, the World Bank, private foundations, multi-national corporations, non-government organizations, and academic institutions."
Richard E. Besser, MD, "Richard Besser, MD, serves as director of the Coordinating Office for Terrorism Preparedness and Emergency Response (COTPER). He is responsible for all of CDC's public health emergency preparedness and emergency response activities. COTPER is the primary CDC/ATSDR organization tasked with oversight of terrorism preparedness, response and protection for the nation from biological, chemical, radiological, and naturally occurring emergencies."
Hmm. All docs so far.
Rear Admiral Mitchell L. Cohen, MD, USPHS, "RADM Mitchell L. Cohen, M.D., was appointed director of CDC's Coordinating Center for Infectious Diseases (CCID) in May 2004. As the director, he provides leadership for CDC's largest, most complex coordinating center which includes the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention; National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases; National Center for Preparedness, Detection, and Control of Infectious Diseases; National Center for Zoonotic, Vector-Borne and Enteric Diseases. When combined, these national centers represent a budget of roughly $4.0 billion and employ over 3000 staff nationally and internationally.
Dr. Cohen received his undergraduate and medical degrees from Duke University. His postgraduate training was in internal medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, and in infectious diseases at the University of Washington in Seattle."
Steven L. Solomon, MD, "Steven L. Solomon, MD, currently serves as the director of the Coordinating Center for Health Information and Service. He received his MD from Tufts University and is board-certified in internal medicine, preventive medicine, and infectious diseases. He was in the private practice of internal medicine and infectious diseases before joining the Epidemic Intelligence Service at CDC in 1981."
First do no harm.
I think they've forgotten that.