Andrew Speaker said he’s sorry. The lawyer, who has a rare strain of tuberculosis, risked the lives of people around the world after the CDC told him not to fly. His family appeared on Good Morning America hoping to prove that he is a victim. With all of the twists to this story, will the public ever see Speaker as anything other than negligent?
Speaker’s new father-in-law is a researcher at the Center for Disease Control (researching tuberculosis, no less). Mr. Cooksey insists that his position had nothing to do with the delay in Speaker’s flight ban or his decision to fly at all. Some aren’t buying it. Postings at various internet sites are critical of the family’s lack of social responsibility.
People can believe Andrew Speaker’s claim that the CDC was not clear about his leaving the country. They even believe that the news that he has XDR, a drug-resistant strain of tuberculosis, didn’t reach him until after he departed for Greece. The public stops believing Speaker at the point where he flew to Canada to sneak across the U. S. border, despite a warning that he could infect others.
The CDC told Speaker to turn himself into Italian authorities while he was in Rome. He claims that he was fearful of Italy’s health care, so he ignored the order. Surely, his father-in-law, as a tuberculosis researcher, knew that the head of the World Health Organization Stop Tuberculosis Program is an Italian doctor – Mario Raviglione. That doesn’t seem like substandard care, does it? If Speaker doubted foreign health, then why did he leave the United States in the first place?
The family of Speaker blames the CDC for not bringing them home. At the same time, government officials say that they were preparing to bring him back when Speaker hopped a flight from Prague to Canada. Is the government responsible for a personal injury attorney vacationing in Europe on a trip he voluntarily took?
It is hard to feel sorry for Andrew Speaker after knowing his actions, despite his reasons. This personal injury attorney may have the tables turned and find himself as a defendant in civil suits. No amount of money will give a victim back their health, though.
Andrew Speaker is young, otherwise healthy, and has a good chance to fight his tuberculosis. Hopefully he will. The sad fact is, though, that not everyone he exposed will be as fortunate as he is. The real victims in this story are the innocent people that were placed at risk for contracting tuberculosis, not Andrew Speaker.