Jesse Jackson & Thomas Duncan's family.

Last week I posed the question: “Just how dumb do they think we are?” This week I can answer assuredly: “Pretty dumb!” I listened and watched while Rev. Jesse Jackson stood with the family of Thomas Duncan, the Liberian national who came to this country after having been exposed to the Ebola virus. 

I watched a sickening scene of a relative of Duncan lament that the hospital should have done more in light of the white Americans who were treated elsewhere for the disease. 

Here’s the difference in my most humble opinion:

The Americans diagnosed with the disease were in Liberia. Their employer, for both doctors and the cameraman, flew them home to American hospitals who were prepared to meet them and treat the disease. Thomas Duncan, with no regard for anyone but himself, lied, flew here allegedly for a visit, and when he fell ill, mentioned to the hospital that he was from Liberia but never took it upon himself to mention “Ebola.” 

For all the talk about diagnosis, medicine is still a discipline that doctors “practice,” and they can better do it when patients are forthcoming with information. 

Perhaps if we wanted “even treatment,” Thomas Duncan’s employer should have flown him home to Liberia to be treated. Oh wait, Duncan had quit his job. I believe he knew darn well he was exposed and wanted to see his son, who lives here, before dying. 

Perhaps we need to have a law making sure foreign nationals who come here for a visit have purchased health insurance prior to legally stepping on American soil. If America cannot be the police force for the entire world, she surely cannot be the free health care service for the world either! 

 Even more sickening than Rev. Jackson and the family of Thomas Duncan doing their laments in front of the cameras, we have now learned that a nurse who, though dressed in full biological hazard gear while treating Duncan, has been exposed to the disease. Some have said the woman’s exposure was due to a mistake in protocol, but what does that line mean? No one mentions the protocol because, truthfully, what if the virus can live better in an air-conditioned environment than in the heat of Liberia. 

Am I the only one galled when the emphasis is on a foreign national and not an American citizen who has now put herself and her family at risk of a disease that this government should have done more to prevent coming here in the first place? 

Has Rev. Jackson or those family members of Thomas Duncan understood that a hospital isn’t necessarily prepared to deal with a contagious disease that it has never seen before just because someone shows up with it? Or is this an even more insidious plan to lay the groundwork for a lawsuit? Is either of them willing to visit that nurse and risk exposure? 

Medical professions take the Hippocratic Oath, which begins: “First do no harm.” They don’t take one that says they have to risk their life or their family members’ lives taking care of someone else. What Rev. Jackson has done is use a tragedy to put himself in the limelight while not giving a damn about Americans who are asked to risk their lives, and then making it solely about race.

 Let me give you another example. Recently a policeman was shot while serving a warrant to a suspect. Of all the hospitals in Chicago, he wasn’t taken to Northwestern, Loyola, University of Chicago, Little Company of Mary, or Rush Presbyterian St. Luke. He was taken to Stroger Hospital. Why? Because if you want the best doctors in this city who can deal with gunshot wounds, you will find them at the county hospital where they see gunshot victims all the time. 

For months now I have heard on the radio (WVON especially) an advertisement for the Illinois Emergency Preparedness kit. I always wondered why those public service announcements were being made. Now in light of all the “coincidences” that mysteriously keep happening in this country, perhaps those ads are not just awareness — but a warning.