Ebola Is Not Only a Hot Topic on the National Stage but also a Hot Topic in Atlanta, Georgia at the Public Health Law Conference ~ part 2

ebola blog part 2This is a continuation of my last blog post titled, “Ebola Is Not Only a Hot Topic on the National Stage but also a Hot Topic in Atlanta, Georgia at the Public Health Law Conference ~ part 1.

You can not help but ask:  How we can get control of the Ebola disease before the death toll rises in the United States? In Africa, there does not seem to be an end in sight. In the United States, where we are so accustomed to our liberties and freedoms, and rightfully so, how do we mentally handle the challenge of a potential quarantine of our Constitutionally based freedoms such as travel?

Although many are surprised that our President appointed an attorney, verses a doctor or other professional with more experience with urgent issues of this type, to be his eyes, ears and possible voice for this potential pandemic, I am not surprised given the legal issues that could transpire should the government not act in a timely, effective, and responsible manner regarding this situation.

The government, including the President, may not be able to hide behind the governmental immunity shield should we become a nation that is paralyzed by a disease that transpired thousands of miles away and that our government failed to effectively control, especially when it could have contained the issue before it spiraled out of control. The warning signs are here now, and now is the time to act before it is too late.

Unlike HIV and AIDS, it is still unclear exactly how this disease is transmitted from person to person and that makes it a much more deadly and massive potential case scenario. I am not sure we have wrapped our heads around this disease in any real fashion except to say that if you have had contact with an infected individual that you may now be an infected individual.

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Ebola Is Not Only a Hot Topic on the National Stage but also a Hot Topic in Atlanta, Georgia at the Public Health Law Conference ~ part 1

ebola virus photoThere are numerous medical, political, and legal issues engulfing the topic of Ebola. The National Stage is being set for an outbreak that could potentially spiral out of control here in the United States as it has abroad. From Hospitals to Airplanes, Buses, the closing of schools, and the closing of businesses, there does not seem to be a clear end in sight on this issue.

As an attorney, I began to immediately see the potential legal issues associated with these cases. Not so much with the first two (2) infected individuals to arrive in the United States at Emory University for treatment, but more so with the death in Texas of a person who lied to authorities of his recent travels, and the diagnosis of the two (2) nurses who treated the now deceased Ebola patient in particular.

For example, the legal claims that these nurses and their families could potentially have include, but are not limited to, the following:

1.) Workers’ Compensation: They most likely contracted the virus in the course of employment.

2.) Medical Malpractice: The evidence seems to show that the Hospital did not have appropriate practices in place to protect its workers or others from this deadly disease in the hospital setting.

3.) Federal Tort Claims: The evidence is mounting that the CDC (Center for Disease Control) also does not have adequate measures to deal with an outbreak of this disease nor does the Federal government.

In Atlanta, Georgia this past week at the Public Health Law Conference the topics on the agenda were, among other things, tobacco, obesity, and the policy for vaccinations, but the topic that everyone who attended ultimately came back to was Ebola, and how could it not take center stage?

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