But in California, a doctor on the faculty at Stanford Health Care is voluntarily subjecting himself to a 21-day home quarantine after his return from treating Ebola patients in Liberia. Dr. Colin Bucks “out of an abundance of caution, will isolate himself for 21 days following his last known contact with an infected patient. During that time, Dr. Bucks will reside alone and will be monitored by state and county health department personnel,” Stanford announced in a release. He'll be paid for his time at home, Stanford also said.
Both healthcare workers are asymptomatic, although there is disagreement about whether Hickox had a fever when she landed at Newark. One is being praised by his employer; the other has state police cars parked outside her Fort Kent, Me. home while the state seeks a court order to have her self-quarantine. “I'm not willing to stand here and let my civil rights be violated when it's not science-based," Hickox said of Maine's self-quarantine request.
With a patchwork of state quarantine requirements now in place, and new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines that add another level of complexity to the quarantine question, any healthcare worker planning to go to Africa has to be thinking about how they'd react to a 21-day quarantine, if for no other reason than the weight of public opinion that will follow them when they come back from their overseas tour.
Follow John N. Frank on Twitter: @MHJFrank