Listening to news stories from around the world, especially about the beheadings by Isis terrorists and the killer Ebola virus, just puts me in to a state of fearfulness. Now, Ebola has made its way to the United States and when I hear the stories of how many people may be infected and how this man was allowed to come in to our country, it also makes me fearful of traveling. I feel pretty safe in my own community, but we are at a place in life where we want to travel. How can I deal with this fear? Can I trust that the government is doing all it can to protect our citizens?
Boy do I hear you, and thanks for your question, as I’m sure it’s on the minds of many citizens.
These times we live in do feel fearful. Add to that, many of us feel helpless to control these situations, which only adds to our fear. In addition, we realize that the people who are in the positions to protect the public, especially our politicians, have not always garnered our confidence. We often feel that they have not made good decisions in these areas. While most of the people in control have the safety of the public in mind, there are others who sway with the winds of popular politics or personal agendas.
This has happened in my own community where, in my opinion, personal agendas got in the way of public safety with our own County Health Department. The final conclusion to the fact that our county commissioners chose to hire an unqualified Director, over a highly qualified and experienced applicant, was that an infectious disease, as discovered at our regional hospital, went unreported for a period of time.
The County Health Department Director did not ensure that the phones for infectious disease reporting were manned or even answered. The reporting was delayed.
The County Health Department is the first to report to. They then report to our State Health Department and the wheels are set in motion to protect the public. Depending on the nature of the infectious disease being reported, a delay could pose a serious threat.
Our hospital was not calling to report an identified outbreak of Ebola. But what if it had been Ebola? After all, our community sits at the intersection of two major interstate highways, which puts us at risk for diseases finding their way in to our community.
What if the diseased person, and all their contacts, needed to be immediately quarantined? The protocol for quarantines and protecting our public cannot begin if the phones are not answered. Thankfully, when this breakdown in public health was brought to light, the Director resigned his position.
Good news? Yes and no. Yes, because hopefully this time around the commissioners will hire the most qualified candidate for Director of our Health Department. No, because we continue to have three non-medical people in charge of our public health and safety.
Using the power of their elected positions, our three county commissioners have made themselves our public health board. Three men with no education and no experience in public health or medicine are in charge of our public health and safety. Decisions they have already made have proven that their personal agendas take precedence over the health and welfare of our citizens. This makes me fearful, not only for myself and my family and friends, but for our community as a whole.
Let’s open the discussion. Post your comments. Are you fearful? How has governance let you down? What can citizens do?
Follow ksal.com for posting of Part 2 of my answer to this question.
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