Norm's Views

Sometimes Blaming the Victim Doesn't Work

When it was disclosed that Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital's nurse, Nina Pham became the first person in the United States to directly contract Ebola from another person, CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden declared, almost in the same sentence, that it had to be Nurse Pham's fault; because, she obviously hadn't followed the CDC's protocol in protecting herself.

Blaming the victim for his or her own injury is almost always the immediate, initial reaction of those directly or indirectly responsible for the injury itself. Far too often, merely stating that the victim was careless for acting irresponsibly or violating well-known directives, or simply commonsense rules, is sufficiently effective to establish the source of true blame—the victim was obviously responsible for his or her own injury.

With calm, self-assured promises from President Obama, CDC Director Frieden and others, the American public was told that systems, procedures and medical facilities in the U.S. were prepared for any Ebola emergency, unlike the situation in 3rd world African countries. The successful treatment in two American hospitals with an experimental drug given to the two Americans, who did contract Ebola in Africa, proved that the U.S. was indeed up to the task.

For about 20 years "Doctors Without Borders" had treated about 2,000 Ebola patients with only 2 health care workers contracting the disease. When two American nurses, so far at least, became infected from a single patient it became obvious that at least one highly respected and regarded American hospital was totally unprepared to receive and care for an Ebola patient while protecting their own staff.

Doctor Frieden's self-assured, immediate statement that Nurse Pham had clearly violated CDC protocol set off an equally immediate chain reaction from within the nursing community. In a blistering video statement, Deborah Burger of National Nurses United clearly described the almost total lack of effective CDC protocols, training and serious lack of protective clothing, such as hazmat suits. Angry and courageous nurses, fed up with being the first to blame, catalogued failure after failure in the so-called readiness of even a top American hospital to care for a single Ebola patient.

Who's to blame? Certainly not any one individual, including President Obama, as is now the fashion. What if Ebola becomes a major epidemic? Equally alarming—what if it had been a terrorist germ warfare attack on a major American city or a new, highly virulent and deadly strain of the flu as in the 1918 Pandemic?

Like the terror of an attack from the unseen approach of a great white shark, it is the method of death and suffering by something that remains unseen, undetectable and may strike equally among the poor, the elites, liberals and conservatives alike.

Who's to blame? Probably anyone who has little or no regard for their fellow neighbors and citizens or all those unable or "unwilling" to care for themselves.

Protection of individuals is dependent on the health of the entire community when dealing with rampant infections. Viruses have not yet been taught to discriminate.

Ebola in the United States is not yet a crisis, and hopefully may never become one. Protection of each individual, whether rich or poor, self-reliant or careless, is dependent on the health of the entire community when dealing with rampant, deadly infections—whatever its source. Viruses have not yet been taught to discriminate.

Scenes From The
New Jersey Coast

Featured Poem

Nature's Vignettes

Frisky squirrels dart to and fro.
Trying to decide where next to go.
Their choice to forage or raid a feeder.
Is up to the one who's a decisive leader.

Leafy shade trees offer a sheltered nook.
Lazy ripples flow along a tranquil brook.
Chattering birds pause, then begin to sing.
Soon they're flying together wing to wing.

Summer showers gently fall 'till noon.
Until a break in the clouds appears soon.
As the sun shines through the distant mist,
A rainbow glows that shouldn't be missed.

Soon the dark rain clouds drift far away.
Ushering in yet another fine summer's day.
Now a brilliant azure color fills the sky.
From meadows to clouds drifting on by.

Early evening fades the eastern sky away.
The western sun must shortly end its stay.
As sunset's palette of reds and yellows,
Paint cloud's above all warm and mellow.

Bright stars first appear in waning twilight.
Then fill the sky in the dark of night.
Shooting stars blaze a brilliant streak.
On an August night as they reach a peak.

Tiny lights flicker in the cool night air.
Seeming to dart about almost everywhere.
Scooped from midair while glowing green,
Fireflies in a jar, are more easily seen.

When darkness loosens its nightly grip.
Morning sun begins its once daily trip.
Recreating in the east the colors of sunset.
Ending the cycle of another day's vignette.