By now, everyone and their dog has heard the story about the American TB patient who ignored his doctor’s advice and traipsed off to Europe to get married.
In all fairness, apparently Mr. Speaker did not know that the strain of tuberculosis he had was the deadly, antibiotic-resistant strain, XDR TB, when he left for Europe. But, you know, to my way of thinking, that doesn’t matter. He knew he had TB.
And anyone with half a brain (and by all accounts Mr. Speaker has at least that. He’s a lawyer) would have known that TB is a contagious disease. Yes, I know that it was unlikely that anyone would have been infected by Mr. Speaker given the low amount of TB in his sputum, but would you have volunteered to sit by him on an eight-hour trans-Atlantic flight?
A lot of blame is being directed at the C.D.C. and at a US Border Agent who let Speaker back into the country after he was tagged as a carrier of dangerous infection. But let’s cut the crap. The primary person responsible for this fiasco is Mr. Speaker.
I am staggered by his sheer selfishness. Given a choice between changing his wedding plans and risking infecting other people, he chose his wedding. What a guy. What a romantic.
And his callousness is revealed by the back-door manner in which he came back to the US when informed that he had this deadly strain of the bacterium.
Since the media storm has broken on this case, Mr. Speaker and his new bride have made tearful appearances on TV talk shows from Speaker’s hospital room in Denver. He’s apologized for putting people at risk. Wow, what a guy. What a paragon of humanity.
Speaker claims he was afraid if he didn’t get to the clinic in Denver he would die. Yeah, because healthcare in Europe is so terrible. And that statement says it all, doesn’t it? His health was what mattered. No one else’s.
The thing that’s even more scary to me about this whole scenario isn’t just that he put the passengers on his flights at risk, but the extent of the vectoring that may have occurred because of his actions. All those passengers were bound for other destinations.
He flew from
Mr. Speaker will get no sympathy from me. He’s likely going to have part of one of his lungs cut out to remove the TB infection. He’ll be on medications that can damage his liver. And he may be in the hospital for as much as two years. That is indeed a harsh reality. But irresponsibly exposing other people to a similar fate because you’re a narcissistic jerk — well, it almost seems like poetic justice.
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