Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Fire, Indeed, is the Cleanser

Say what you will about the state of civil liberties in this country, but some people are just not poster children for personal responsibility. So it is with Robert Daniels, an American who grew up in Russia. At age 26, he found that he had contracted an extremely drug resistant strain of tuberculosis (XDR-TB). Tuberculosis is a very contagious disease, but in the US is generally treatable with antibiotics. Occasionally, strains resistant to general antibiotics pop up, and patients must be treated with so called "second-line" antibiotics. Now in Russia, and a few other places, strains that are resistant to these second-line treatments are turning up. So it is with Mr. Daniels.

So he came back to the US, in hopes of finding better treatment. He started his treatment, and took a job locally in Phoenix. He wasn't healthy. He had lost 50 pounds, and was coughing constantly, and every cough was expelling droplets laden with this extremely resistant and deadly bacterium. Then his doctors found out that he was going out in public 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.”
Public health officials then took the unusual (but not unheardof) step of placing him in involuntary quarantine.

He's upset.

I sympathize, and certainly have mixed emotions about involuntary quarantine. But then again, don't be a moron.

The following is an IM transcript (edited for flow and brevity) wherein Sandy and I make light of his situation.

lunchstealer: 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.”
sandy:{insert he-shoulda-known-about-gitmo joke here}
lunchstealer: Seriously. Couldn't he have just gone to Finland?
lunchstealer: I mean, they'd probably have drop-kicked him into a Fjord, but they'd have been terribly polite about it.
sandy:"hey, no problem, ha ha, but we're gonna put you in de fire-water for cleansing, K? Ha! is Finnish joke. We gonna burn you instead."

Hat tip to Hit&Run for the original link.