What can we in Maine do to support Kaci Hickox?

Wed, Oct 29, 2014


See the article below. What can we do in Maine to support Kaci? There are people on facebook opposed to Kaci even coming back to Maine and supporting a quarantine, regardless of Kaci’s health. Petitions to state government and its Department of Health and Human Services, legislators, etc.? Are there local initiatives being planned? 

Larry Dansinger
(207) 525-7776 or

I’m not planning to kiss her, but I want to shake Kaci Hickox’s hand

By Erica Quin-Easter, Special to the BDN
Posted Oct. 28, 2014, at 1:13 p.m.  

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie hasn’t apologized to nurse Kaci Hickox, but I will.

My state — Maine — hasn’t (yet) put her in isolation through hospital solitary confinement, as the state of New Jersey chose to do. But in just 24 hours since hearing she would travel to Fort Kent, my neighbors and friends in Aroostook County have posted pictures of her on Facebook and warned that she should be wearing hunter orange so she will be easier to run out of town.

I don’t think she should be concerned for her safety.

But I am concerned for other reasons. I am ashamed to live among people who are so provincial they will make a pariah out of a woman who proudly represents our region. Hickox is a hero, not a threat.

If you believe our military aims to stop threats where they start, you should believe the same of Hickox. The spread of Ebola has been halted in Nigeria thanks to brave medical workers such as her. Hopefully her efforts in Sierra Leone will contribute to the same effect in that country.

Personally, I’m not brave. When flu season comes to northern Maine, I hate to shake hands. When the children in my family come down with colds, I start popping vitamin C. But the brouhaha about Ebola in my state drives me crazy.

I would waive my hand-shaking policy to shake Hickox’s hand, because I know Ebola is transmitted through blood or bodily fluids of a person who is sick with Ebola. Hickox is not sick, and I’m not planning to kiss her. The disease also is transmitted by contaminated needles and syringes, and I’m not planning to shoot up with her. The third means of transmission is through infected fruit bats or monkeys, and I haven’t seen any of those in Fort Kent. If they lived here, I’m sure it would be open season.

Our Ebola frenzy is focused in the wrong place. One healthy nurse at home in Fort Kent is not a threat. The real threat is almost 5000 dead and more than 10,000 recorded infections in Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and other west African countries. Ebola creates a humanitarian crisis, an economic challenge and a political concern in regions already rife with weak infrastructure, political instability, and conflict.

In northern Maine, the threat to our community is the lack of compassion for those who care. Hickox had the training and the guts to go where I cannot. Because of her, my community and my country are safer. I trust our medical professionals and the monitoring process, and I trust in a better world brought about by people such as her.

Erica Quin-Easter is a resident of Caribou. She has worked with various Maine nonprofit organizations since 1999.



One Response to “What can we in Maine do to support Kaci Hickox?”

  1. atlee Says:

    Just to keep a vital fact straight… Although Kaci’s obvious disease-free status indicates all this bruhaha about her is sick and nuts, that isn’t the end of story. The statement that Ebola is transmitted through contact with bodily fluids — and the implications that shaking hands is thus safe — is misleading. The CDC (mis?)categorizes airborn droplets, such as those from coughs or sneezes, as “contact.” Airborn droplets is why the hazmat gear and respirators are necessary for safety. Further, the issue of the size of the droplets, and thus their travel-distance, is ambiguous, and upon that rests the issue of whether true “airborn transmission” is possible. The CDC says it is not, but such transmission has happened between animals, and there are cases of transmission when no obvious contact has occured. So having public understanding of the risk of transmission depend on the (mis?)definition of “contact” may not be the best public health policy. I would strongly recommend that anyone who wants to stay abreast of reality in this current scare keep an eye on our own Dr. Meryl Nass’s blog: In addition to being a wonderful internist (as I’ve heard from many who have found themselves under her care), she is an international expert on bioterrorism and vaccines, and is very thorough in the content and documentation of her blog entries. Her recent postings have to do with the increasingly likely prospect of aerosol transmission, and the length-of-survival of various ebola strains on surfaces. The CDC is being forced by evolving circumstances into further and further admissions on these issues. Again, this is irrelevant to non-sick Kaci’s case, but it IS relevant to the casualness implicit in Erica Quin-Easter’s op-ed. Dick Larry Dansinger wrote, On 10/29/14 10:27 AM: _______________________________________________ HCCN mailing list