Tuesday, April 03, 2007


A herald of things to come?

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.

1 comment:

Bag said...

I wouldn't say he had not done anything. He was refusing to wear a mask which put others at risk. If I failed to perform basic safety on my car and drove to put others at risk I would go to jail. What is the difference? OK. He has a disease that is unfortunate but he can't carry on as normal. If I caught an infectious disease I would expect to keep myself in quarantine and not selfishly wander about.

He is being jailed because of his actions not because he has a disease.