Ain't it wonderful how, overnight, we've all become experts in public health? Hindsight and second, third and fourth vision. Coulda, woulda, shoulda. The worst of all the second guessing was initially directed at the two nurses, Amber Vinson and Nina Pham who became infected with Ebola while treating Thomas Eric Duncan, so far the only person in the United States who has died from the deadly disease. The criticism came early on, but now, it has let up as it has become known that there were multi-screw-ups up and down the line.
As we watch the finger pointing go on and on for hours each day, it has become clear, at least to me, that something called the sociology of
institutions has come into play here. The apparatus, government or otherwise, for combating Ebola is so complex, fragmented and burdened with so many conflicting goals that it's amazing that an epidemic isn't already rolling.
Indeed, plenty of mistakes, some of the avoidable, have been made. But it's a fault of these times that we expect solutions to the most complex problems to show up instantly, if not magically. When Haiti was devastated by a deadly Hurricane, it seemed that some folks (reporters chief among them) expected rescue squads to turn up instantaneously. It doesn't happen that way.
Chief among the the targets is President Barack Obama, for his initial and usual distance. Sure, he deserves some blame, but we've assigned the president godlike powers, figuring that if he can't keep Ebola away from our shores, or if he can't instantly rescue and house every stranded soul in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, then he's a complete failure. After all, we can't blame Obama for everything. (When everything ought to be blamed on George W. Bush.)
Nurses are the greatest people in the world; they do a job that I could never do, bringing health and comfort to so many people. Same goes for the many people who are fighting like crazy to combat Ebola. Let's leave the second-guessing for later.
For information on my award-winning historical novel, "Madness: The War of 1812," visit: http://www.madness1812.com
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