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“I’m being treated worse than an inmate,”

Discussion in 'The Atrium' started by Pack93z, Apr 3, 2007.

  1. Pack93z

    Pack93z You retired too? .... Not me. I'm in my prime

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    The most primitive question in the world, violate a persons right to live there life in the manner they want without directly causing injury to another to take those liberties away.

    I am torn on it myself.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17915965/wid/11915773?GT1=9303

    Drug-proof TB strain poses ethical bind
    Man locked up indefinitely, sparking civil liberties debate
    The Associated Press
    Updated: 5:01 p.m. CT April 2, 2007
    PHOENIX - Behind the county hospital’s tall cinderblock walls, a 27-year-old tuberculosis patient sits in a jail cell equipped with a ventilation system that keeps germs from escaping.

    Robert Daniels has been locked up indefinitely, perhaps for the rest of his life, since last July. But he has not been charged with a crime. Instead, he suffers from an extensively drug-resistant strain of tuberculosis, or XDR-TB. It is considered virtually untreatable.

    County health authorities obtained a court order to lock him up as a danger to the public because he failed to take precautions to avoid infecting others. Specifically, he said he did not heed doctors’ instructions to wear a mask in public.

    “I’m being treated worse than an inmate,” Daniels said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press last month. “I’m all alone. Four walls. Even the door to my room has been locked. I haven’t seen my reflection in months.”

    Though Daniels’ confinement is extremely rare, health experts say it is a situation that U.S. public health officials may have to confront more and more because of the spread of drug-resistant TB and the emergence of diseases such as SARS and avian flu in this increasingly interconnected world.

    “Even though the rate of TB in the U.S. is at the lowest ever this last year, we live in a globalized world where, if anything emerges anywhere, it could come to our country right away,” said Mark Harrington, executive director of the Treatment Action Group, an American advocacy group.

    Detain the uncooperative?
    The World Health Organization warned last year of the emergence of extensively drug-resistant TB. The new strain, which has been found throughout the world, including pockets of the former Soviet Union and Asia, is resistant not only to the first line of TB drugs but to some second-line antibiotics as well.

    HIV patients with weakened immune systems are especially susceptible. In South Africa, WHO reported that 52 of 53 HIV patients died within an average of 25 days after it was discovered they also had XDR-TB.

    How to deal with people infected with the new strain is a matter of debate.

    Dr. Ross Upshur, director of the Joint Centre for Bioethics at the University of Toronto, said authorities should detain people with drug-resistant tuberculosis if they are uncooperative.

    “We’re on the verge of taking what was a curable disease, one of the best known diseases in human endeavors, and making it incurable,” Upshur said.

    But a paper Upshur co-wrote on the issue in a medical journal earlier this year has been strongly criticized.

    “Involuntary detention should really be your last resort,” Harrington said. “There’s a danger that we’ll end up blaming the victim.”


    In the United States, which had a total of 13,767 reported cases of tuberculosis in 2006, public health authorities only rarely have put TB patients under lock and key.

    Texas has placed 17 tuberculosis patients into an involuntary quarantine facility this year in San Antonio. Public health authorities in California said they have no TB patients in custody this year, though four were detained there last year.

    Upshur’s paper noted that New York City forced TB patients into detention following an outbreak in the 1990s, and saw a significant dip in cases.

    In the Phoenix area, only one other person has been detained in the past year, said Dr. Robert England, Maricopa County’s tuberculosis control officer.


    Life in detention
    Daniels has been living alone in a four-bed cell in Ward 41, a section of the hospital reserved for sick criminals. He said sheriff’s deputies will not let him take a shower — he cleans himself with wet wipes — and have taken away his television, radio, personal phone and computer. His only visitors are masked medical staff members who come in to give him his medication.

    The ventilation system draws out the air and filters it to capture the bacteria-laden droplets he expels when he coughs. The filters are periodically burned.

    Daniels said he is taking medication and feeling a lot better. His lawyer would not discuss his prognosis. Daniels plans to ask for his release at a court hearing late this month.

    Daniels lived in Russia for 15 years and returned to the United States last year after he was diagnosed. He said he thought he would get better treatment here, and hoped eventually to bring his wife and children from Russia. He said he briefly worked in an office in Arizona for a chemical company before he was put away.

    He said that he lost 50 pounds and was constantly coughing and that authorities locked him up after they discovered he had walked into a convenience store without a mask.

    “Where I come from, the doctors don’t wear masks,” he said. “Plus, I was 26 years old, you know. Nobody told me how TB works and stuff.”

    County health officials and Daniels’ lawyer, Robert Blecher, would not discuss details of the case. But in general, England said the county would not force someone into quarantine unless the patient could not or would not follow doctor’s orders.

    “It’s very uncommon that someone would both not want to take treatment and will willingly put others at risk,” England said. “It’s only those very uncommon incidents where we have to use legal authority through the courts to isolate somebody.”


    Pandemics will raise ethical dilemmas
    University of Pennsylvania medical ethicist Art Caplan said Maricopa County health officials were confronted with the same ethical dilemma that communities wrestled with generations ago when dealing with leprosy and smallpox.

    “Drug-resistant TB, or drug-resistant staph infections, or pandemic flu will raise these questions again,” Caplan said. “We may find ourselves dipping into our history to answer them.”

    Daniels said he realizes now that he endangered the public. But “I thought I’d come to a country where I’d finally be treated like a person, and bam, here I am.”
     
  2. digsthepack

    digsthepack Cheesehead

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    So, the question is his freedom at the risk of infecting many with a horrible disease. Sorry, as sad as it may be, you put others before yourself and resign yourself to your fate. Who could live with the knowledge that they have killed someone when it could have been prevented.

    Selflessness is, unfortunately, not as common as it used to be in our society.
     
  3. cheesey

    cheesey Cheesehead

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    Lets see......deadly disease, and all they asked him to do was wear a mask outside, so he won't KILL someone, and he wouldn't do that.
    It just didn't seem to me to be asking too much to wear a mask when out and about.
    So....what are they SUPPOSED to do? Let him go out and infect people that have NO idea he can kill them?
    I don't understand why he can't have a TV in his room though.
    The public has to be protected against these things.
    I know it's different, but i feel if you have HIV, you should have to tell people before you "hook up". If you don't, and you give them the disease, how about an attempted murder charge?
    (Although if people would just keep their pants on, we wouldn't have this "epidemic" either. Don't screw around, HIV will die off itself. But i guess thats asking too much of people, to end that horrible disease forever.)
     
  4. Anubis

    Anubis Cheesehead

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    Here in Canada, you can be charged with attempted murder for having unprotected sex when you are HIV positive and not informing your partner of your condition. I don't see how this guy's case is any different. Society should stop worrying about his civil liberties and start worrying about everyone else's.

    GO PACK!!!

    Robert C. Hedley
     
  5. longtimefan

    longtimefan Super Moderator Staff Member Super Moderator

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    i can understand why he is "locked up" but why no showers, radio, tv or computer?

    showers maybe cuz he can pass the virus down the drain??

    but other things why?
     
  6. Pack93z

    Pack93z You retired too? .... Not me. I'm in my prime

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    So when someone next to me is smoking and we know that smoke assists in causing lung cancer, can't a arguement be made that they are harming another?

    HIV isn't just passed by "hooking" up, it can be passed with accidental exchange of blood. So to protect the public, because an infected person may leave a deadly disease behind by a simple paper cut? Or should it be mandatory for everyone to be made to have a HIV test to protect the public? Because someone isn't responsible enough to either practice safe sex or get tested regularly.

    I am not trying to say that the cases are directly related, but with the logic of lock them because they have a disease and won't take all the neccessary steps to prevent passing it. Where is the line drawn?

    I agree that he should take the precautions to protect those around him, but should he be locked up with no freedoms, not even the access to a shower, because he has a disease?

    * EDIT - just to be clear, I see the rational for "locking" him up. But I find it hard to determine where and how much the government steps on the liberties of its citizens.
     
  7. cheesey

    cheesey Cheesehead

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    To me its a big difference between inhaling a little smoke from a cigarette, which probably won't do you any permanent damage, to having a guy with a disease which is for certain going to be deadly out on the street where he can infect people by just being next to them, with a deadly disease. And it's NOT like they just locked him up. They tried to get him to wear a mask, which would have protected others. He just plain refused to do this little thing to keep others from getting it. He made a choice, and now is crying cause he is paying the consequences for his refusal.
    Many "smokers rights" have been taken away to protect the general public from second hand smoke. If they break those laws, they can be arrested and fined, or fired from their jobs.
    They tried to reason with the guy, he refused to do what was necessary to protect innocent people, and now has to bear the burden of his own choice.
    It's hard for me to feel too sorry for him when they tried to reason with him and he wouldn't cooperate.
    If I smoked, and went into a restaurant that had "No Smoking" signs and "Smoke Free restaurant" signs all over, and lit up in there, should i cry and whine when they kick me out? I would deserve to be kicked out, and if i refused to go, then arrested for my actions. This guy had chances to keep himself out of lockup, and ignored what he had to do to avoid lockup.
    Had they just grabbed him and locked him up without giving him a chance to do what they wanted, THEN i would be more on his side.
     
  8. Pack93z

    Pack93z You retired too? .... Not me. I'm in my prime

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    I don't necessarily feel sorry for the guy, albeit the lack of some basic needs is extreme, but the point I guess I am trying to make is that where is the line drawn?

    So if the government decides that a certain condition requires a person take a particular action and that said person doesn't follow the requirements they can be detained without trial just on a judges order. He has broken no said laws. We are setting precedent for the judical system to be skirted for other diseases to follow. Maybe I am missing the point here.. but this opens a pandoras box in my mind.

    Don't you think that this opens the door for the government or a department within to start playing judge and jury?
     
  9. CaliforniaCheez

    CaliforniaCheez Cheesehead

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    Quaritine of diseases is done for the protectionof society.

    What upsets me is TB was virtually eliminated in this country until illegal aliens brought it back. This guy brought it from Russia.

    You know Ellis Island screened out such people. Now this particular individual may not be an illegal but he demonstrates the need for the control of our borders.

    There is more to security than just military security.
     
  10. cheesey

    cheesey Cheesehead

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    The question you have to ask next is, whats the alternative? Do we wait for a trial, which could take months or more, all the while this guy is doing his imitation of "typhoid Mary" on the general public? How do we explain to all he infects during that time that "We didn't want to take away his rights, so YOU are the ones that have to pay for it with YOUR lives".
    Yes, it was a drastic measure, but it's a deadly condition. And like i said, HE made the choice to NOT wear a mask. That would have avoided this lock up from happening in the first place.
     
  11. cheesey

    cheesey Cheesehead

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    I couldn't agree more Cali. You don't think that terrorists are watching this and see this as an opportunity to bring in deadly diseases?
    Think about it.........they infect themselves, and just mingle in with society here, spreading the disease as they go. ONE person could infect MILLIONS doing this. And they have already shown that they don't care if they themselves die, so whats to stop them? Germ warfare would be just as deadly, maybe even more so, then a bomb. And alot easier to deliver.
    We need to wake up before it's too late. This isn't a "normal" enemy we are fighting.
     
  12. Pack93z

    Pack93z You retired too? .... Not me. I'm in my prime

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    That right there is why I say I am torn on the issue, in one hand we inslave a person that has done nothing but contract a disease but gets treated worse than the most deadly murder in the country. But on the other he won't take the necessary steps to control the disease to keep the public safe. All I am saying is it opens a door for the government or a department there within to bypass the judical system. Not saying what we are doing is wrong, just infringes on the basic rights drawn up by our fore fathers.

    Tell me the government won't utilize it, the look no further than the FBI and the Patriot Act. Whom is going to protect us from us?
     

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