Ebola nurse to remain a voice against quarantines

24 PHOTOS
Kaci Hickox Ebola nurse - updated 11/2
See Gallery
Ebola nurse to remain a voice against quarantines
FORT KENT, ME - OCTOBER 29: Kaci Hickox and boyfriend Ted Wilbur take questions from the press regarding the state of Maine's quarantine policy outside Wilbur's home in Fort Kent, ME on Wednesday, October 29, 2014. 'I remain in good spirits and I'm thankful to be home with my partner Ted. I went into public health because I believe that good science and compassion can make a difference in peoples' lives. That is exactly why I went to Sierra leone to fight Ebola. It is not my intention to put anyone at risk in this community. We have been in negotiations all day with the state of Maine, and tried to resolve this amicably, but they will not allow me to leave my house and have any interaction with the public even though I'm completely healthy and symptom free.' Hickox said she's been told the attorney general intends to file legal action, and if that occurs, she will fight those legal actions. (Photo by Whitney Hayward/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)
FORT KENT , ME - OCTOBER 29: Kaci Hickox and boyfriend Ted Wilbur take questions from the press regarding the state of Maine's quarantine policy outside Wilbur's home in Fort Kent, ME on Wednesday, October 29, 2014. 'I remain in good spirits and I'm thankful to be home with my partner Ted. I went into public health because I believe that good science and compassion can make a difference in peoples' lives. That is exactly why I went to Sierra leone to fight Ebola. It is not my intention to put anyone at risk in this community. We have been in negotiations all day with the state of Maine, and tried to resolve this amicably, but they will not allow me to leave my house and have any interaction with the public even though I'm completely healthy and symptom free.' Hickox said she's been told the attorney general intends to file legal action, and if that occurs, she will fight those legal actions. (Photo by Whitney Hayward/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)
FORT KENT , ME - OCTOBER 29: Kaci Hickox and boyfriend Ted Wilbur take questions from the press regarding the state of Maine's quarantine policy outside Wilbur's home in Fort Kent, ME on Wednesday, October 29, 2014. 'I remain in good spirits and I'm thankful to be home with my partner Ted. I went into public health because I believe that good science and compassion can make a difference in peoples' lives. That is exactly why I went to Sierra leone to fight Ebola. It is not my intention to put anyone at risk in this community. We have been in negotiations all day with the state of Maine, and tried to resolve this amicably, but they will not allow me to leave my house and have any interaction with the public even though I'm completely healthy and symptom free.' Hickox said she's been told the attorney general intends to file legal action, and if that occurs, she will fight those legal actions. (Photo by Whitney Hayward/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)
FORT KENT, ME - OCTOBER 29: Kaci Hickox and boyfriend Ted Wilbur take questions from the press regarding the state of Maine's quarantine policy outside Wilbur's home in Fort Kent, ME on Wednesday, October 29, 2014. 'I remain in good spirits and I'm thankful to be home with my partner Ted. I went into public health because I believe that good science and compassion can make a difference in peoples' lives. That is exactly why I went to Sierra leone to fight Ebola. It is not my intention to put anyone at risk in this community. We have been in negotiations all day with the state of Maine, and tried to resolve this amicably, but they will not allow me to leave my house and have any interaction with the public even though I'm completely healthy and symptom free.' Hickox said she's been told the attorney general intends to file legal action, and if that occurs, she will fight those legal actions. (Photo by Whitney Hayward/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)
FORT KENT, ME - OCTOBER 29: Kaci Hickox and boyfriend Ted Wilbur take questions from the press regarding the state of Maine's quarantine policy outside Wilbur's home in Fort Kent, ME on Wednesday, October 29, 2014. 'I remain in good spirits and I'm thankful to be home with my partner Ted. I went into public health because I believe that good science and compassion can make a difference in peoples' lives. That is exactly why I went to Sierra leone to fight Ebola. It is not my intention to put anyone at risk in this community. We have been in negotiations all day with the state of Maine, and tried to resolve this amicably, but they will not allow me to leave my house and have any interaction with the public even though I'm completely healthy and symptom free.' Hickox said she's been told the attorney general intends to file legal action, and if that occurs, she will fight those legal actions. (Photo by Whitney Hayward/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)
Photo of Kaci Hickox, the nurse quarantined at a New Jersey hospital because she had contact with Ebola patients in West Africa, in her isolation unit at a Newark, New Jersey hospital. She said the process of keeping her isolated is "inhumane." The photo was released by her attorney, Norman Siegel. 
FORT KENT, ME - OCTOBER 29: NBC affiliate network producer Nick Bogert, left, video photojournalist Joel Coblenz, center, and audio technician Paul Green knock on the home of Ted Wilbur, where Kaci Hickox returned Tuesday evening in Fort Kent, ME on Wednesday, October 29, 2014. (Photo by Whitney Hayward/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)
FORT KENT, ME - OCTOBER 29: Members of the media line up outside Ted Wilbur's home, where Kaci Hickox returned on Tuesday night, in Fort Kent, ME on Wednesday, October 29, 2014. (Photo by Whitney Hayward/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)
FORT KENT, ME - OCTOBER 29: Kaci Hickox and boyfriend Ted Wilbur take questions from the press regarding the state of Maine's quarantine policy outside Wilbur's home in Fort Kent, ME on Wednesday, October 29, 2014. 'I remain in good spirits and I'm thankful to be home with my partner Ted. I went into public health because I believe that good science and compassion can make a difference in peoples' lives. That is exactly why I went to Sierra leone to fight Ebola. It is not my intention to put anyone at risk in this community. We have been in negotiations all day with the state of Maine, and tried to resolve this amicably, but they will not allow me to leave my house and have any interaction with the public even though I'm completely healthy and symptom free.' Hickox said she's been told the attorney general intends to file legal action, and if that occurs, she will fight those legal actions. (Photo by Whitney Hayward/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)
FORT KENT, ME - OCTOBER 29: A CDC employee is escorted by the Maine State Police to the home of Ted Wilbur, where Kaci Hickox is staying in Fort Kent, ME on Wednesday, October 29, 2014. Hickox is being monitored for Ebola symptoms, and the employee was there to take Hickox's temperature. (Photo by Whitney Hayward/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)
FORT KENT, ME - OCTOBER 29: The home of Ted Wilbur, the boyfriend of Kaci Hickox, who returned Tuesday evening to Fort Kent, ME on Wednesday, October 29, 2014. (Photo by Whitney Hayward/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)
FORT KENT, ME - OCTOBER 29: Kaci Hickox and boyfriend Ted Wilbur take questions from the press regarding the state of Maine's quarantine policy outside Wilbur's home in Fort Kent, ME on Wednesday, October 29, 2014. 'I remain in good spirits and I'm thankful to be home with my partner Ted. I went into public health because I believe that good science and compassion can make a difference in peoples' lives. That is exactly why I went to Sierra leone to fight Ebola. It is not my intention to put anyone at risk in this community. We have been in negotiations all day with the state of Maine, and tried to resolve this amicably, but they will not allow me to leave my house and have any interaction with the public even though I'm completely healthy and symptom free.' Hickox said she's been told the attorney general intends to file legal action, and if that occurs, she will fight those legal actions. (Photo by Whitney Hayward/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)
FORT KENT , ME - OCTOBER 29: Kaci Hickox and boyfriend Ted Wilbur take questions from the press regarding the state of Maine's quarantine policy outside Wilbur's home in Fort Kent, ME on Wednesday, October 29, 2014. 'I remain in good spirits and I'm thankful to be home with my partner Ted. I went into public health because I believe that good science and compassion can make a difference in peoples' lives. That is exactly why I went to Sierra leone to fight Ebola. It is not my intention to put anyone at risk in this community. We have been in negotiations all day with the state of Maine, and tried to resolve this amicably, but they will not allow me to leave my house and have any interaction with the public even though I'm completely healthy and symptom free.' Hickox said she's been told the attorney general intends to file legal action, and if that occurs, she will fight those legal actions. (Photo by Whitney Hayward/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)
FORT KENT, ME - OCTOBER 29: An unmarked Maine State Police Trooper sits outside the home of Ted Wilbur, where Kaci Hickox returned Tuesday evening in Fort Kent, ME on Wednesday, October 29, 2014. A uniformed officer said the Maine State Police was there to work with the CDC, to watch for safety and movement at the home. (Photo by Whitney Hayward/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)
FORT KENT, ME - OCTOBER 29: Ted Wilbur greets a passing car as he waits for the CDC to take his girlfriend, Kaci Hickox's temperature, in Fort Kent, ME on Wednesday, October 29, 2014. Hickox is required to have her temperature monitored to determine whether she is displaying symptoms of Ebola. (Photo by Whitney Hayward/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)
FORT KENT, ME - OCTOBER 29: A CDC employee makes the turn into Ted Wilbur's home while a Maine State police officer walks to meet and escort her inside to Kaci Hickox in Fort Kent, ME on Wednesday, October 29, 2014. (Photo by Whitney Hayward/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)
DETAILS: New Jersey releasing nurse quarantined in #Ebola scare: http://t.co/8DCnKWoySf #abc15 http://t.co/r7lSNZuMgh
Quarantined, asymptomatic nurse in NJ sent CNN these photos of her current living quarters. #Ebola http://t.co/ieaZ7DLcKq
Gov says state police now parked outside #kacihickox Fort Kent home "both for her protection & health of community." http://t.co/BVE6iTK2DD
Aerial view of Newark Airport, New Jersey, New York
US nurse sues after being forced into quarantine in New Jersey http://t.co/FgQUUKKmca http://t.co/RoPcl5tFiR
FORT KENT, ME - OCTOBER 29: Kaci Hickox and boyfriend Ted Wilbur take questions from the press regarding the state of Maine's quarantine policy outside Wilbur's home in Fort Kent, ME on Wednesday, October 29, 2014. 'I remain in good spirits and I'm thankful to be home with my partner Ted. I went into public health because I believe that good science and compassion can make a difference in peoples' lives. That is exactly why I went to Sierra leone to fight Ebola. It is not my intention to put anyone at risk in this community. We have been in negotiations all day with the state of Maine, and tried to resolve this amicably, but they will not allow me to leave my house and have any interaction with the public even though I'm completely healthy and symptom free.' Hickox said she's been told the attorney general intends to file legal action, and if that occurs, she will fight those legal actions. (Photo by Whitney Hayward/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)
FORT KENT, ME - OCTOBER 29: Kaci Hickox and boyfriend Ted Wilbur take questions from the press regarding the state of Maine's quarantine policy outside Wilbur's home in Fort Kent, ME on Wednesday, October 29, 2014. 'I remain in good spirits and I'm thankful to be home with my partner Ted. I went into public health because I believe that good science and compassion can make a difference in peoples' lives. That is exactly why I went to Sierra leone to fight Ebola. It is not my intention to put anyone at risk in this community. We have been in negotiations all day with the state of Maine, and tried to resolve this amicably, but they will not allow me to leave my house and have any interaction with the public even though I'm completely healthy and symptom free.' Hickox said she's been told the attorney general intends to file legal action, and if that occurs, she will fight those legal actions. (Photo by Whitney Hayward/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)
FORT KENT, ME - OCTOBER 29: Kaci Hickox and boyfriend Ted Wilbur take questions from the press regarding the state of Maine's quarantine policy outside Wilbur's home in Fort Kent, ME on Wednesday, October 29, 2014. 'I remain in good spirits and I'm thankful to be home with my partner Ted. I went into public health because I believe that good science and compassion can make a difference in peoples' lives. That is exactly why I went to Sierra leone to fight Ebola. It is not my intention to put anyone at risk in this community. We have been in negotiations all day with the state of Maine, and tried to resolve this amicably, but they will not allow me to leave my house and have any interaction with the public even though I'm completely healthy and symptom free.' Hickox said she's been told the attorney general intends to file legal action, and if that occurs, she will fight those legal actions. (Photo by Whitney Hayward/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE


PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - The Maine nurse who defied quarantine attempts after treating Ebola patients in West Africa is looking forward to stepping out her front door - "like normal people."

Kaci Hickox's plans for the end of the deadly disease's 21-day incubation period include a dinner out with her boyfriend, but she told The Associated Press she's worried about what type of a reception she'll get after being hailed by some and vilified by others after battling state-ordered quarantines in New Jersey and Maine.

Most people have been supportive, she said, but others have been hateful. She received a letter from one person who said he hoped she would catch Ebola and die.

"We're still thankful we've had a lot of great support in this community but I'd be lying if I said that it didn't make me a little bit nervous thinking about people from the other side of the debate and how they might react to me," she said.

Monday will mark the 21st day since Hickox's last exposure to an Ebola patient, a 10-year-old girl who suffered seizures before dying alone without family.

On Tuesday, Hickox will no longer require daily monitoring for Ebola symptoms, and even those who sought to isolate her agree that she will no longer be a threat.

Hickox she said she doesn't intend to stop speaking out on behalf of public health workers, nor would she let her experience deter her from returning to West Africa.

"Something like quarantine is not going to scare me from doing the work that I love," she said from her home in Fort Kent in northernmost Maine. "I would return to Sierra Leone in a heartbeat."

The Texas native never intended to become the public face of a fierce debate over how U.S. health care workers volunteering in West Africa are treated upon their return.

Volunteering for Doctors Without Borders, she spent a month at a hospital where there were never enough beds for all of the Ebola patients who needed help. It was so hot that volunteers could only spend about an hour at a time treating patients in their protective suits. They were drenched in sweat when they finished their shifts, she said.

On the morning she left Sierra Leone, the weary nurse learned that the girl she'd treated hours earlier had died. She was debriefed by Doctors Without Borders in Brussels before flying to the U.S.

It was after three hours of questioning at the Newark Liberty International Airport that she resolved that she'd have to make a stand on behalf of all returning health care workers.

"I said I'm going to have to do something about this because I can't possibly let my colleagues go through this. This is completely unacceptable," she said.

Hickox was sequestered in a medical tent for days because New Jersey announced new Ebola regulations the day she arrived.

She eventually was allowed to travel to Maine, where the state sought to impose a "voluntary quarantine" before trying and failing to create a buffer between her and others. A state judge rejected attempts to restrict her movements, saying she posed no threat as long as she wasn't demonstrating any symptoms of Ebola.

Hickox said health care professionals like those at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - not politicians like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Maine Gov. Paul LePage - should be in charge of making decisions that are grounded in science, not fear.

"In the past, a quarantine was something that was considered very extreme. I'm concerned about how lightly we're taking this concept today," she said. "I'm concerned that the wrong people are leading the debate and making the decisions."

She said the U.S. needs a public education campaign to better explain the virus that has killed nearly 5,000 in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

Hickox said she doesn't intend to step away from the debate over the treatment of health care workers, even after the 21-day mark passes at 11:59 p.m. Monday.

For now, though, she's considering her options as she looks for work. Her boyfriend, Ted Wilbur, contends he was told to stay away from the University of Maine at Fort Kent while she was in the news. He formally withdrew from the school Friday.

The couple said they'd likely be leaving town soon.

Hickox, who holds a nursing degree from the University of Texas at Arlington and master's degrees in nursing and public health from Johns Hopkins University, said she may opt to go back to school.

"I have been over the last couple of days been toying with the idea of maybe getting a doctorate degree and focusing on quarantine law," she said.

More on AOL.com:
Massachusetts town weighs nation's 1st tobacco ban
Germany marks 25 years since fall of Berlin Wall
Alaska storm pushing cold air toward lower US

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.