Dr. Nancy Snyderman made her return to the Today show this morning to once again apologize for all of the hubbub surrounding her outing during her voluntary quarantine. Rather than just saying she was sorry for breaking the rules, she and Matt Lauer got more specific about what exactly went wrong.
Besides “scaring my community,” she says she was guilty of “adding to the confusion of terms” that was happening.
Adds Lauer, “In your situation it wasn’t about what was medically right to do. It was about breaking a promise.” She agrees.
And with that, they hit the issue on the head.
As we saw with the Kaci Hickox situation, we don’t want people who aren’t doctors making decisions about who should be quarantined and under what conditions. But when Dr. Snyderman, a journalist and a scientist, promises to stay put and then does the opposite at a time when anxiety is at a high point, it makes people angry. A promise is a promise. With so many questions and so many things up in the air, people just want to know they can count on something, even if it is just someone’s word.
Dr. Snyderman also touched on the “optics” of the situation. Again, we need science in this situation, not perception. But a member of her team was sick (thankfully, he’s on the mend) and presumably if she agreed to the quarantine there was a precaution worth taking.
While we thought the previous apology was a decent one, given the chance to speak in more detail and describe her experience made this one even better. Dr. Snyderman ends by refocusing on the need to continue to work towards bringing this disease under control in the places where it is not. Last night, Sophie Delaunay, the executive director of Doctors Without Borders, talked about the need that still exists on The Daily Show. You can check that out here.