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Friday, June 01, 2007

About the flying TB patient.

I'm beginning to feel sorry for Andrew Speaker. In the immortal words of Ricky Riccardo, the CDC has some 'splainin' to do:

"I don't expect for people to ever forgive me. I just hope that they understand that I truly never meant to put them in harm," he said, his voice cracking.

Speaker, 31, said he, his doctors and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention all knew he had TB before he flew to Europe for his wedding and honeymoon last month. But he said he was advised that he wasn't contagious or a danger to anyone. Officials said they would rather he didn't fly but no one ordered him not to, he said.

He said his father, also a lawyer, taped that meeting.

"My father said, 'OK, now are you saying, prefer not to go on the trip because he's a risk to anybody, or are you simply saying that to cover yourself?' And they said, we have to tell you that to cover ourself, but he's not a risk."

BTW, you can thank the screwed-up use of antibiotics in prisons for the development of the strain in Russia. Basically, the prison authorities gave enough doses to TB patients to feel better, then stopped.

The Russian approach to problem-solving can be summarized like this:

Keep hitting the problem until it breaks. If it doesn't break, keep hitting. Use someone else's head where necessary.

The thing is, it works more often than not. But nobody uses the words "Russian style," and the collateral damage is usually gothic.

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