The Ebola Virus has become the new epidemic on the block and in its advent we have seen a bunch of disrespect and paranoia to those persons infected with this deadly disease. Ebola isn’t something new, it isn’t this mysterious “new” virus that has come on the seen and is killing persons who have no idea what it is and how to treat it. However, it was isolated to Africa. Across the globe, out of sight and out of mind, until it landed on the shores of the Americas.
My country has recently placed a BAN on Persons travelling from all the African countries currently affected by the disease. I have mixed feelings about this decision, However, I think that it is in the best interest of the country as a whole. Antigua and Barbuda is a small country, with little money and small amounts of resources. Should an epidemic as deadly and contagious as Ebola hit our shores, it would annihilate a large portion of the population.
As a Nursing professional, I would be one of the most at risk persons for contracting Ebola. It’s scary and terrifying and alot of medical professionals are frightened for themselves and their families. You can’t blame us, for fearing what we do not understand. You can not blame a person for refusing to care for a person that can cause the death of a family. Some say that we expose ourselves to all types of diseases on a daily basis without fear. Yet, since becoming a nurse, I have never experienced the kind of fear and worry about dying, ever.
So, In their wisdom and their brilliance, the medical director for the country has deem it fit to criminalize any refuse by medical personnel to treat an Ebola infected patient. That pisses me off to the core, because it is wrong. I will personally be sitting in a cell should Ebola ever make its way here. I know myself and I know that with my pre-existing Asthma and other respiratory issues that I will not be putting on a Has-mat suit unless it is absolutely necessary. I think that it should be a choice. The right to refuse to treat a patient is in our code of ethics. Why is it, that it is okay to refuse to treat a patient if you have a bias or a “personal” problem with that patient, but it isn’t okay to refuse to protect yourself and your loved ones.
It upsets me, that we are lying to persons stating that we are “prepared” should the disease come here, yet, the professionals who should be caring for these patients are not being educated. If we were prepared, we would all be given hands-on training on proper draping procedures. How to dispose of dead bodies and waste and what universal precautions are essential to observe to prevent further spread.
The question must be asked If the shoe was on the other foot, Is criminalizing refusing to care for someone the solution to panic and fear?