NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A nurse who was quarantined for days in Newark after she helped treat Ebola patients in West Africa last year is now suing several state officials, including Gov. Chris Christie.
As WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell reported, Kaci Hickox called her three days in quarantine the hardest of her life as she was held against her will.
“I mean, I was very frustrated and very scared,” she said.
Hickox landed at Newark Liberty International Airport after helping sick Ebola patients in Sierra Leone through Doctors Without Borders.
She was stopped when she arrived at the airport and questioned over several hours before being sent to stay in quarantine in a tent outside of a hospital in Newark.
She initially had a minor fever, then her temperature was normal and her Ebola test came back negative.
“When we base reactions on fear alone, which is unconstitutional, what that resulted in is discrimination,” she said.
While Hickox was quarantined, Christie said he sympathized for her but said he has to do what he can to ensure public health safety.
Hickox was the first person forced into New Jersey’s mandatory quarantine for health workers who came into contact with Ebola patients, after Christie and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a stronger quarantine policy than federal standards. Their plan came under fire from the White House and medical groups.
She believes Christie wanted a quarantine to show political strength.
The suit also names former state Health Commissioner Mary O’Dowd and other health department employees. Hickox is seeking at least $250,000 in compensatory and punitive damages.
The governor’s office declined to comment.
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