Nurse Free From Ebola Quarantine After Launching Media Campaign in Isolation
Kaci Hickox has been released from mandatory Ebola quarantine in New Jersey after launching a very vocal media campaign. INSIDE EDITION has the latest.
She's free! The 33-year-old nurse held in quarantine against her will has won a David and Goliath battle.
Kaci Hickox planned to return home to Bangor, Maine, today. She had been held since Friday in this plastic tent at a university hospital in Newark, New Jersey.
ABC News Chief Health and Medical Editor Dr. Richard Besser read a text nurse Kaci sent him shortly before her release.
Dr. Besser told INSIDE EDITION, "For her to spend a month risking her life in Africa and coming home to the greeting she received is just unacceptable."
Dr. Besser continued, "We've been texting back and forth and she's got a message she wants people to hear: 'I'm so thankful for the immense attention and support I've received. I just hope this nightmare of mine and the fight that I have undertaken is not in vain.' "
Hear More From Besser
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a potential presidential candidate, ordered Kaci to be held in quarantine after doctor Craig Spencer came down with Ebola a week following his return from Africa.
Christie said, "She's high risk and she presented with a fever which is one of the symptoms that's indicative of that. I understand Miss Hickox is uncomfortable, and I understand that she doesn't want to be quarantined. But my responsibility, my greater responsibility is to the 8.9 million people of the state of New Jersey."
But Kaci's supporters say she never had any symptoms.
"Despite what the governor says, she's not ill and hasn't been ill. She was tired when she came in but she's not sick," explained Dr. Besser.
Kaci wasn't taking her quarentine lying down. Armed with a laptop and her iPhone, she wrote a scathing column over the weekend for the Dallas Morning News newspaper in which she said she was treated like a criminal after being held for hours at Newark Airport and then rushed to that isolation tent in Newark.
As Kaci conducted a media campaign from inside her tent, her boyfriend said the governor had "messed with the wrong redhead."
Kaci tweeted pictures showing life inside her isolated tent and spoke with CNN by phone, explaining, "I have a kind of port-a-potty type restroom, no shower facilities and no connection with the outside world except my iPhone which I insisted that I brought with me."
Kaci hired a high-powered civil liberties lawyer to get her out.
Her boyfriend, Ted Wilbur, told INSIDE EDITION she was a prisoner.
Wilbur told INSIDE EDITION, "If you go over and save lives from people who are dying from a horrible disease you get put into prison, an isolation tent. That's not the kind of society we should have, is it?"
See What Else Wilbur Told INSIDE EDITION
The New Jersey Department of Public Health gave in to pressure to release Kaci. But there's some negative reaction to her return in her home state of Maine.
One man posted: "Can not afford this...No way no how... Period!"
"It's selfish not to want to quarantine yourself if you've been to that region," said another.
Meanwhile, Dr. Spencer has received a blood transfusion from Ebola survivor Nancy Writebol, who told INSIDE EDITION last week about her battle with the disease.
"I am willing to give blood. I would be happy to do that I think that it's helpful," said Writebol.
And a five-year-old boy was rushed to Bellevue Hospital in New York City to the be tested for Ebola. He developed a fever after returning home from Guinea. He has since tested negative for Ebola.
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