Reporting on Thursday night about news of the first Ebola patient in New York City, Fox News host Megyn Kelly was apoplectic.
She lambasted the victim, Dr. Craig Spencer, who had recently treated Ebola patients in Guinea before testing positive for the disease himself, saying he had been “irresponsible” after his return to the United States.
“You tell me if I am wrong, which very well might be the case,” Kelly said to Dr. Marc Siegel, a Fox News contributor. “But you are over there treating Ebola patients. You’re well aware of the contagiousness of this disease. He comes back into New York City. He knows he’s been handling Ebola patients, and he’s here for a week? He doesn’t tell anybody and if he starts to feel symptomatic before his 103 fever, he’s still out there bowling and taking taxis and not quarantining, not just self-quarantining?”
Siegel “completely agreed with that” and said it didn’t sound like Spencer took “personal responsibility at all.”
But other officials abreast of the situation have not agreed with Kelly’s assessment. New York City health commissioner Dr. Mary Travis Bassett confirmed that Spencer, a physician for Doctors Without Borders, did not exhibit symptoms of Ebola until Thursday morning. That means that he wasn’t symptomatic when he went bowling and took a taxi on Wednesday.
Moreover, health officials on Friday were forced to revise their initial reports that Spencer had a 103-degree fever on Thursday. His fever was actually 100.3 degrees, they said.
And as for Kelly’s harsh assessment that Spencer had acted irresponsibly, well, other medical professionals seem to disagree.
“He is a committed and responsible physician who always puts his patients first,” the New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center, where Spencer is on staff, said in a statement. “He has not been to work at our hospital and has not seen any patients at our hospital since his return from overseas. Our thoughts are with him, and we wish him all the best at this time.”
Dr. Irwin Redlener, an expert on disaster preparedness and a professor at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, echoed those sentiments, saying during a Friday morning radio interview that Spencer was “very responsible.”