Denver to host special tuberculosis patient who flew home on commercial airlines

A man from Atlanta has extensively drug resistant tuberculosis (XDR TB), and he’s coming to Denver’s National Jewish Medical Center, one of the foremost authority on respiratory diseases in the world. No problem, and it’s almost certainly not the first time that National Jewish has receieved a special respiratory illness for treatment.

No, my problem is that this… individual (extensive swearing removed)… was told by the Centers for Disease Control not to fly home from Rome on a commercial airliner, was put onto the no-fly list so that he couldn’t fly directly into the U.S. and potentially infect an entire airplane (or multiple airplanes), airports, etc. with XDR TB, was asked to check himself into a Rome hospital to be isolated so he couldn’t give anyone else his XDR TB, and yet he flew from Rome to Prague to Montreal (all on commercial airlines, of course) and then rented a car and drove across the border and checked into a hospital in New York.

His reason? He said “he feared that if he stayed in Rome, he would die there.” (source: The Denver Post quoting the Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

So, even though he showed no symptoms and the liklihood that he was contagious was low, he disobeyed the CDC and snuck back into the United States, exposing at least two airlines, three airports, and a car rental outfit to XDR TB.

I can’t even fathom the self-absorption and willful disregard for the health and safety of others that this man has. He should have checked into a hospital in Rome, and if that meant he would die in Rome, so be it. Dying away from your home is a far, far more honorable thing than infecting even one other person with something as nasty as XDR TB.

And he’s bitching that he had an armed guard outside his isolation room in Atlanta….

Dude, shut the hell up – if I’d been on one of those planes or at the rental car desk, I’d want your head on a platter. And if anyone – anyone – is found to have been infected with XDR TB because of you, I hope that they (or their next of kin) bring criminal charges against you and lock you up for what you did.

UPDATE: is reporting that there will be a House hearing on this issue in June 6 and that the Border Patrol had orders to detain Andrew Speaker, the individual with XDR TB, at the crossing between Canada and New York. One of the things the hearing will look into is how the Border Patrol missed Mr. Speaker when he and his wife crossed the border (too few agents on the northern border because they’ve all been moved to the Mexican border perhaps….)

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5 replies »

  1. I’m with you Brian – John Keats died far from his London home – in Rome, of TB, in fact – and he was worth a damned sight more than than this “Typhoid Mary” acting S.O.B.

    If even one person is infected by this guy, I think he should be charged with felonious criminal action – same as someone who knowingly infected people with HIV or any other deadly disease.

    He flew out of Atlanta after being specifically told not to travel.He flew all over Europe, then into Canada, the drove back into the U.S. Hell, a bio-terrorist couldn’t have been much more of a danger to others….

    BTW, it’s just been posted that the guy is a personal injury attorney in Atlanta. Wonder what he’d do if presented with a case like exposure (to him) by a client?

    One question: Where the hell was Homeland Security?

  2. FYI – There will be no armed guard.

    I got the smack down for posting an expletive-laden denunciation of the guy. I guess when presented with the choice of maybe spreading TB and pissing off your bride-to-be while losing thousands on your canceled wedding, the bride and cash win.

  3. I read about this chap and thought “can we execute him now?” I mean, the guy has basically deliberately exposed thousands of people to this disease – and we struggle with containing it here in South Africa – simply because he is retarded and an asshole.

    I figure Bush should accuse him of being an al Qaeda recruit and bung him in Guantanamo until he sees sense.

  4. There was a reason I inserted the phrase “extensive swearing removed” – my initial diatribe against this… person… was sufficiently… heated as to earn this post an NC-17 rating were it a movie.

    He should be really, really glad his identity isn’t being revealed by the CDC or National Jewish Medical Center. There’d be a long line of people measuring him up for his coffin for pulling this.

    The article I linked to indicated that the armed guard was there to keep him from escaping. I’d suggest to National Jewish that they might want to get an armed guard to keep vigilantes from smothering the guy in his sleep.