Patterico's Pontifications


Brittany Maynard: Her Final Goodbye

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:40 pm

[guest post by Dana]

People magazine is reporting that Brittany Maynard, the 29-year old woman suffering from Stage 4 brain cancer who wrote a controversial essay about her decision to die with dignity, has ended her life:

“Goodbye to all my dear friends and family that I love. Today is the day I have chosen to pass away with dignity in the face of my terminal illness, this terrible brain cancer that has taken so much from me … but would have taken so much more,” she wrote on Facebook. “The world is a beautiful place, travel has been my greatest teacher, my close friends and folks are the greatest givers. I even have a ring of support around my bed as I type … Goodbye world. Spread good energy. Pay it forward!”

Last month she told People:

“For people to argue against this choice for sick people really seems evil to me. “They try to mix it up with suicide and that’s really unfair, because there’s not a single part of me that wants to die. But I am dying.”

May God comfort her husband and family and keep them close. And may Maynard know the peaceful rest she sought.


Sunday Afternoon Music

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 1:35 pm

Barry Goudreau, Sailin’ Away. Brad Delp on vocals.

CDC Contradicts Itself on How Ebola Spreads Yet Again

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 1:26 pm

The CDC has done it again. After telling us that Ebola is, and isn’t, spread through sneezes, they have changed the “droplets spread 3 feet” information to 6 feet, and then taken that down again.

Gateway Pundit says that on Friday, October 31, the CDC was saying that Ebola could spread through large droplets, which can spread up to 6 feet. This is the portion of a CDC poster I am seeing in screenshots at places like Gateway Pundit:

Screen Shot 2014-11-02 at 11.13.17 AM

Now I know what you’re thinking: how do I know that this poster screenshot reproduced at Gateway Pundit was actually on the CDC web site? Well, I could not find the language in the cache or the current version of the poster, but I did a Google search for this phrase on the Web site: “Droplets generally travel shorter distances, less than about 6 feet from a source patient.” Voila!

Screen Shot 2014-11-02 at 11.04.20 AM

So we know that the language in question appeared at the CDC Web site recently enough to be visible in a search for that language.

As you can see by looking at the bottom left corner of this screenshot, the URL which this language used to be in is: The “6 feet” language is now gone, and I saved the current version of the poster as of today in this file.

Now, let’s review some of CDC’s previous contradictions on possible ways Ebola can spread. I noted on October 29 (this past Wednesday) that the CDC had published a poster (which I saved here) saying Ebola could be spread through sneezes. Of course, then we were being told it was 3 feet and not up to 6 feet. Here are screenshots from that poster:

Screen Shot 2014-10-29 at 7.38.07 AM

Screen Shot 2014-10-29 at 7.37.35 AM

In the same post, I noted that the poster had been pulled down. It was later replaced by this poster which says:

There is no evidence indicating that Ebola virus is spread by coughing or sneezing. Ebola virus is transmitted through direct contact with the blood or body fluids of a person who is sick with Ebola; the virus is not transmitted through the air (like measles virus). However, droplets (e.g., splashes or sprays) of respiratory or other secretions from a person who is sick with Ebola could be infectious, and therefore certain precautions (called standard, contact, and droplet precautions) are recommended for use in healthcare settings to prevent the transmission of Ebola virus from patients sick with Ebola to healthcare personnel and other patients or family members.

Let me try to sum this up:

  • CDC says: “There is no evidence indicating that Ebola virus is spread by coughing or sneezing.”
  • CDC says: Ebola is spread through droplet spread, which includes sneezes. “Droplet spread diseases include Ebola, plague.” Also: “Droplet spread happens when germs traveling inside droplets that are coughed or sneezed from a sick person enter the eyes, nose or mouth of another person.”
  • CDC says: “Droplets travel short distances, less than 3 feet.”
  • CDC says: “Droplets generally travel shorter distances, less than about 6 feet from a source patient.”

So, to sum up: according to the CDC, there is no evidence that Ebola travels through sneezing, but you should know that it is a droplet spread disease, and droplet spread happens through sneezes. So, Ebola does, and also does not, spread through sneezes. Also, according to the CDC, droplets spread less than 3 feet, and also less than 6 feet.

You may now feel reassured.

A Striking Contrast Between Two Health Care Professionals

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:45 am

[guest post by Dana]

This morning, nurse Kaci Hickox who, while still in the 21-day incubation period, has been seen chatting it up with reporters, bike riding with her boyfriend and having friends visit her, claimed that it was out of an abundance of politics Gov. Chris Christie made the quarantine decision for his state which caused her to spend a weekend in an isolation tent before a judge permitted her to return home to Maine:

“When Gov. Christie stated that it was an abundance of caution, which is his reasoning for putting health care workers in a sort of quarantine for three weeks, it was really an abundance of politics,” she told Chuck Todd. “And I think all of the scientific and medical and public health community agrees with me on that statement.”

Further, renowned Ebola expert Hickox reassured the public:

“We don’t know … everything in the world. But we know a lot about Ebola,” Hickox said on Meet The Press. “We have been researching this disease for 38 years, since its first appearance in Africa. And we know how the infection is transmitted from person to person. And we know that it’s not transmitted from someone who is asymptomatic, as I am and many other aid workers will be when they return.”

Meet Dr. Colin Buck who has not had any physical contact with his family since his return from Liberia where he was on the front lines working to save the lives of Ebola patients. Dr. Buck is under a self-imposed quarantine. And this is one healthcare professional actually sticking to it.

Buck had been cleared to fly from JFK back home to the Bay Area and it was after talking with health officials there that he opted for self-quarantine:

“I miss my family,” Bucks, 43, said Thursday from his Redwood City home. “But we recognized in advance that it would be essential to be separated on the return. It’s an extension of the deployment to me.

“We’ll do the other parts — the reunion, finally coming home — after a safe isolation period is expired.”

Buck also made the decision to:

“remove himself from direct social interactions upon his return to the United States, to allay both public fears and his own concerns about the faint possibility of infecting others.”

Buck opted to err on the side of caution for his own sake and for the sake of those around him. And that, Mr. President, is essentially what so-called “hysterical” America wants from returning healthcare professionals – and from your administration: a commitment to consistently err on the side of caution in all things Ebola. For everyone’s sake.

Bucks spent five weeks treating Ebola patients in northeast Liberia, volunteering with the International Medical Corps. The work, he said, was grueling but often satisfying — Bucks and his colleagues saved more lives than they lost — and after treating more than 130 people thought to have had Ebola, he’s now considered one of the nation’s experts in the disease.

Bucks never treated, or even touched, a suspected Ebola patient without wearing full protective gear. And throughout the community where he worked, he said, physical contact was extremely limited. But though he thinks his risk of having Ebola is slim, he decided to reassure himself and others by completely isolating himself for the three-week incubation period.

(emphasis added)


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