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.Why lock up a man who has done nothing but get sick?
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.
It actually could be an example of things to come. There are still fears of an avian flu outbreak or other superbugs. To stop the spread of fatal diseases the authorities could take drastic steps like this not only with individuals but even entire communities. Pretty scary.