Kaci Hickox, the nurse unnecessarily quarantined by New Jersey governor Chris Christie, filed suit against the governor, as well as the former state health commissioner and a number of the state’s health departments.
Hickox was forced into quarantine in 2014 after returning the United States from West Africa where she was treating Ebola patients. Though Hickox tested negative for the disease, Christie quarantined her anyway; ostensibly to assuage some the ungrounded panic that had swept quickly through the nation. Christie held Hickox in quarantine for three days despite outcry from the public health community who called the measures unnecessary.
During her time in quarantine, Hickox threatened to sue and, in his familiar style, Christie responded, “Whatever. Get in line. I’ve been sued lots of times before. Get in line. I’m happy to take it on.” Hickox has taken Christie up on the offer. The lawsuit, filed in a U.S. District Court in Newark, charges that the governor and state health officials “illegally and unconstitutionally held Hickox against her will as part of a mandatory quarantine for anyone returning from certain West African countries who treated patients with Ebola.”
“I never had Ebola. I never had symptoms of Ebola. I tested negative for Ebola the first night I stayed in New Jersey governor Chris Christie’s private prison,” Hickox said in a statement. “My liberty, my interests and consequently my civil rights were ignored because some ambitious governors saw an opportunity to use an age-old political tactic: fear.”
Last year, Christie dismissed Hickox’s complaints about quarantine, pointing out that even though she was being held against her both her will and the advice of the medical community, she was being treated to the New Jersey high life. “She was inside the hospital in a climate-controlled area with access to her cellphone, access to the Internet and takeout food from the best restaurants in Newark,” Christie said. Poor lady, first she treats Ebola patients, then she’s forced into quarantine, and then she’s subjected to Newark restaurants.
Image via AP.