Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Nurse in Ebola Quarantine Flap Says She Won’t Obey Maine’s Isolation Rules
US Nurse stands up against quarantine.
-Kaci Hickox Says She Will Go to Court if Restrictions Aren’t Removed by Thursday
-Nurse Kaci Hickox had been quarantined in New Jersey after working with Ebola patients in West Africa through Doctors Without Borders
-Nurse Kaci Hickox had been quarantined in New Jersey after working with Ebola patients in West Africa through Doctors Without Borders

Associated Press
Updated Oct. 29, 2014 8:34 a.m. ET

The Maine nurse who traveled to West Africa to care for Ebola patients said Wednesday that she won’t self-quarantine for 21 days, setting up a possible legal battle with Maine, which asserted Tuesday that it has the right to impose quarantines on residents potentially exposed to the virus.

Speaking on “Good Morning America” from Maine, 33-year-old Kaci Hickox said, “If these restrictions are not removed for me by tomorrow morning, Thursday morning, I will go to court.”

She said she remains “really concerned by these mandatory quarantine policies for aid workers.”

Ms. Hickox’s lawyers say the quarantine is medically unjustified for Ms. Hickox—who tested negative for the virus Saturday and has no Ebola symptoms—and violates her rights.

New York civil-rights lawyer Norman Siegel, one of the attorneys representing Ms. Hickox, told The Wall Street Journal that he understands “the fear” states have about Ebola containment.

”But you’ve got to do it constitutionally and legally,” he said.

He said that Maine would have to seek a court order to confine Ms. Hickox and that she would contest that.

Ms. Hickox, who is from northern Maine, flew back to the U.S. on Friday after working for five weeks with Doctors Without Borders in West Africa. New Jersey, where she landed, initially quarantined her in a tent in a hospital, prompting her to vocally complain and igniting a national debate over state policies on how to treat returning aid workers.

President Barack Obama has criticized mandatory quarantines for aid workers returning from West Africa, but the federal government is leaving it up to states to craft their own policies.

Ms. Hickox returned to Maine on Monday and is staying in an undisclosed location, according to her lawyers. While Maine asked for her to self-isolate for 21 days, her lawyers say she never agreed to that time frame. “I feel absolutely great,” Ms. Hickox told “Good Morning America.”

Maine’s health director said Tuesday that the state didn’t want to impose quarantines on someone potentially exposed to the Ebola virus but was poised to do so if necessary. Mary Mayhew, the commissioner of Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services, didn’t specifically refer to Ms. Hickox in a news conference.

“We are confident that the selfless health workers, who were brave enough to care for Ebola patients in a foreign country, will be willing to take reasonable steps to protect the residents of their own country,” Ms. Mayhew said. ”However, we are willing to pursue legal authority if necessary.”

Write to Jennifer Levitz at

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