October 14, 2014

What Was She Thinking?

Statement from NBC News*
 Dr. Nancy Snyderman, the chief medical editor for NBC News, had been in Liberia covering the Ebola epidemic, and while there, worked with a free-lance cameraman who contracted the disease and is currently being treated.
popscreen.com photo
Snyderman and others of our team were brought home shortly after the cameraman was diagnosed, and were asked to honor a 'voluntary quarantine' lasting 21 days, during which they would be monitored for symptoms. 
As a "health professional" (which is how Dr. Snyderman refers to herself), she should have known better than to go out in public while under quarantine, and should have done everything in her power to prevent other members of the group from doing the same.
Sadly, that was not the case: multiple media outlets have reported that Snyderman and others were seen in a car outside a popular New Jersey restaurant, and that one of the people left the vehicle, went into the restaurant, and came back with soup. For that, we are deeply sorry. 
 In a statement that's being read on all of our broadcasts, Snyderman notes that she and others "remain healthy" and their "temperatures are normal" and that she  is "deeply sorry for the concerns this episode caused" but she does not state that she herself violated the quarantine, only that "members of our group" did. For her lack of candor at this time, we are deeply sorry. 
While we talked with Dr. Snyderman, and were happy to read her statement, we made no mention of the specific incident which led us to this point, instead generically mentioning that Snyderman has been in the news. We did not report on our own employee's ill-advised behavior, and for that we are deeply sorry. 
The strongest message that Dr. Snyderman could have delivered at this time was to obey the voluntary quarantine, and  follow the advice of those who are best equipped and experienced with combating something like Ebola, which Snyderman, a cardiologist, is less prepared to do.  Instead, she chose to ignore the request. For her ignorance, we are deeply sorry.
She and her team are now under mandatory quarantine for the remainder of the 21-day period.  Police are now patrolling the area where Snyderman and members of her group are staying, probably as much to protect them from potential threats from the angry, frightened, confused and disillusioned people of Princeton as to ensure that the group stays inside for the duration of the quarantine. For the extra costs and the disruption to the people of Princeton, we are deeply sorry. 
Whether or not you believe that Ebola is a threat to Americans at home, and whether or not you believe the quarantine was necessary, are not at issue here. What is at issue are the actions taken by Snyderman and others under her sphere of influence. We strongly believe that her actions were irresponsible, and that they have embarrassed all of us here at NBC. For that, we are deeply sorry. 
We also strongly believe that the best place for you to get the medical information you need is from your doctor, and from your local public health officials, not from our photogenic medical editor or from our broadcasts. 
*which we'll see maybe on the twelfth of never.