Hindsight is Humiliating

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“We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face… we must do that which we think we cannot.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Over the past several weeks I have made some interesting observations:

As Americans, our arrogance prevented us from being prepared for an inevitability. We deserved to look like fools. It is just terribly sad that pride has resulted in pain, suffering, and death.

As humans, fear overtakes our rational minds no matter which country or race we claim as our own.

And that, ladies and gents, is all she wrote.

At least for tonight.

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32 thoughts on “Hindsight is Humiliating

  1. Some Americans….many Americans were alarmed by the arrogance, overconfidence, and lack of common sense that was being exhibited. I personally feel that the CDC received their political “marching orders” and were stuck between a rock and a hard place. It was obvious based on Dr. Frieden’s performance today. This is not the first incident of agencies under the Obama administration being thrown under a bus after odd actions and decisions go horribly awry.

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  2. It is something We have done for quite a while. We caught that from the Brits before we were the USA, I think. “That can’t possibly happen here! We’re above that sort of…” Wait. Wut? How’d that happen?

    On another topic… I love architecture and architectural detail photography. What is that gorgeous shot?

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  3. If only we had helped tackle the problem in Africa months ago. With all the money we’ve spent on wars, surely we could’ve invested more to prevent the spread of such a deadly infection. We actually had schools closed around us today because of the patient who visited Akron and flew from Cleveland. It truly is a small world. Too bad we failed to realize that earlier.

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  4. My heart is up in my throat, for I am a nurse, not working, and so have seen and known the absolute stupidity and arrogance in the working in so many of late. I hear the news, and shock wave after shock wave hits me, for I know in my “gut” that what has been done, cannot never be undone, but could have been prevented. The stupidity in this world guised as “oh we know what we are doing” has me asking, are these people even human anymore? The suffering of so many while those who could have prevented so much of that suffering, insist “they know what they are doing”. Yeah they do. Where the sunshine don’t shine.

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  5. I agree with everyone that this incident is lamentable and very sad, and that we would wish it never happened and hope that proper preparation will prevent it in the future. Unfortunately, I think that is a vain hope. What we are seeing is built in to us as humans.

    I’m not in the medical field. I spent 30+ years in computer security trying to protect people and clean up after failures (including some big players like your government). In the ’70s, we couldn’t get anybody to pay attention to security. I used to think that the first time somebody lost a million credit card numbers, everybody would pay attention. You know how that went. Last week one organization lost over 80 million customer records. Can you even remember who that was?

    The security problem and the disease prevention problem are similar; protection costs money and is inconvenient. People who are understaffed and overworked don’t want to deal with it. CEO’s don’t want it because every dollar for protection comes directly off the bottom line. Put that together with our natural optimism that the problem will happen to someone else, and you get what we have today.

    Lamentation is good for the soul. Righteous anger makes you feel good. Rolling a few heads might feel good (especially if you are a politician about to stand for office again), but none of those will correct the problem. We need to recognize that people are fallible, learn from our mistakes, and carry on.

    Let us be grateful that people continue trying to do their jobs, even when they know that all is not well!

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    • Agreed. We are all fallible. We are all flawed. It is easy to hide until we are tested. I would include myself in this, of course. It has taught me even more humility. It didn’t matter at which hospital in Dallas this had occurred. Presby just got the short straw. We all would have failed miserably.

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  6. I remember being taught about Ebola in medical school in the 1980s (I studied in Spain although I’ve worked in the UK most of my life). Whilst the illness was confined to Africa…I agree some of it is arrogance, some of it is selfishness, some being like an ostrich (if I can’t see it, it’s not really happening). I know it’s no consolation but I’m in Spain at the moment and they’ve handled it really badly here too. (But at least the nurse who got ill is now improving. And it seems she’s planning on suing the authorities. And good for her too!)

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    • On some level you don’t really know how to handle it until you actually live it. We were doing drills yesterday and after, I had to really stop and think about how to get out of the protective gear without potentially contaminating myself. There were things we thought were right until we ran through a mock patient and had to change our protocol. But even now we have very little guidance about certain things. I, too, studied about Ebola in the 90’s as an undergrad. We toured USAMRIID and seeing the isolation units and suits and such made a huge impression on me at the time. My flimsy surgical gown and gloves and goggles and mask…. never thought I would be living this.

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  7. Thanks for your succinct and powerful words. The discussion that followed here was a valuable learning experience for a non-American.
    I don’t believe in cliches and don’t think all Americans are arrogant, as I have seen the same claim from people from other nations.
    History tells us that our race seem to not evolve in one inherently human characteristic- as bizarre and non intelligent as it can be – to put economic value above human interests…as if they’re not inter-dependable.

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