Most of us have heard the story by now.  Andrew Speaker, a lawyer based out of Atlanta, was advised by doctors not to travel due to his evolved, drug-resistant strain of tuberculosis.  After going ahead with his travel plans, he turned himself in to health professionals and is currently under quarrantine.  Since then, Speaker and his doctors have been the subjects of harsh criticism.

The implication in the media is that since Speaker was advised not to travel and knew he was infected, he should have stayed home.  Since doctors knew he was infected, they should have ordered him to stay home.  Much concentration is put on the fact this Speaker’s TB is drug-resistant and, like standard TB, is contagious.  Passengers from all of Speaker’s flights, from North America to Europe and back again, are encouraged to get themselves tested for the disease, which the passengers indeed should.  However, let us all remember that not only is Speaker’s form of TB harder to kill; it is also harder to contract.

Criticisms have risen that Speaker was attempting to dodge health authorities.  Not only did he take an earlier flight to Europe after being advised not to travel, but he continued with his travels while health officials in Italy were working on a treatment plan.  Speaker has already defended himself, saying that he was not running from anyone.  Of course he wasn’t.  He wasn’t in trouble.  He wasn’t breaking any laws.  Most likely, he was trying to enjoy life before the disease started crippling his day-to-day.  Upon his return to America, he turned himself in to health officials for treatment.

Speaker’s family, as well as airport officials and Speaker’s doctors, are still under scrutiny.  Never mind that Speaker’s fellow passengers are only advised to get tested–much like Speaker was only advised not to travel–because they are only at low risk for contracting the disease.  Never mind that Speaker’s new bride and travel companion has been tested and found clean.  Perhaps the media, the Center for Disease Control, and others who will not relent in the investigation of circumstances and policies rather than the actual medical case will soon leave Speaker in peace with his treatments and the support of his loved ones.

You can read more about Speaker’s case here:

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