“Fear Mongering” and the Ebola virus: Should attorneys help in setting an example to the public?

Posted on 10-29-2014 by
Tags: Latest Headlines & Stories , trending news

First it was West Nile Virus; then came the Mad Cow Disease and now America is dealing with another bout of hysteria over yet another disease – Ebola. Amongst the hysteria, schools have closed, expats have been placed in quarantine upon their return to the states, and we have a nation of citizens who are hesitant to travel to Dallas, TX.

For many law firms, the work-life requirements include air travel, hearings and trials in various courtrooms around the U.S., as well as depositions in hospital and physician offices. Understandably, there has been a real hesitation amongst attorneys throughout the U.S. to travel to Dallas and take the deposition of any of the physicians or nurses who have been involved in caring for Mr. Duncan (the Dallas Ebola patient), until there is reassurance that none of them could be contagious. 

Surprisingly, however, there have also been discussions that such hesitation amounts to “fear mongering,” and as educated professionals, attorneys should set an example for the public at large, trusting the wisdom of the CDC, and go about our normal activities without concern. 

After posing this question to members of the LexTalk community, we had an outpouring of comments about this topic. Read on to find out what your fellow colleagues had to say.

Do we have anything to fear?

“…We have nothing to fear...unless you're treating Ebola patients in the hospital or cleaning up their waste, there is absolutely no reason to worry here.”

“…Unless the attorneys are planning on taking a blood sample, I don't see why there should be any more cause for concern than if the attorney was taking the deposition of someone suffering from AIDS.”

In-person or Video Deposition?

“I agree with the above, video depo or Skype-session would probably be the best option.”

“Telephone deposition! If you expose yourself, then expose your colleagues, I do not think your firm would be very happy.”

Is this really “fear-mongering”?

“No matter what our profession, I think we are all responsible to do what we believe to be in the best interest of our own health. I, personally, do not believe it to be fear mongering to be ultra-careful until we have more information. They don't even know how the 2 nurses became infected.”

“I don't think this is fear-mongering. When medical professionals who have been (supposedly) following protocol become infected, I think fear is rational and valid. At the same time, the fear must be tempered by the low incidence of transmission.”

“It is not fear mongering to gather information and make an informed decision about what is right for you. “

To other members of LexTalk, what do you think? I’d like to know what attorneys in other areas of practice think about this.

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