Patient advocate

Kaci Hickox

Image credit: Photograph courtesy of Kaci Hickox

Kaci Hickox, Nurs '11 (MSN/MPH), spent four weeks in 2014 caring for Ebola patients in Sierra Leone with Doctors Without Borders. On her return to New Jersey, she was quarantined for three days before a lawyer secured her release. She then had to fight another quarantine order in Maine, arguing that she showed no symptoms of Ebola and the quarantine exceeded Centers for Disease Control and Prevention protocol. Hickox asserted that such orders unfairly stigmatize both patients with infectious diseases and those who care for them.

She now lives in Oregon, where she oversees infection prevention for a health care organization. She shares her story to help persuade health care workers that they can safely work with infectious disease patients, and should do so because those patients deserve care. Health care workers "have to lead the effort to ensure equality for our patients," she says. "If we don't stand up, no one will."

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Posted in Voices+Opinion