Sample Research Paper On The Effects Of Quarantine On The Military
Quarantine is the act of separating and restricting the movement of individuals in order to reduce the levels of contamination of the entire population. Quarantine happens mostly in cases where there is an undoubted outbreak of communicable disease. During such situations, humanity moves to counter the spread of the illness. Quarantine is one such response that the governments involve institute. Over the preceding few eons, there have been notable outbreaks in the world. For instance, there was the swine flu case, SARS and recently Ebola in West Africa (Reuters, 2014). In a majority of these cases, the military is usually involved strategically to help in handling the outbreaks. When, they leave their stations of work, they are usually quarantined before they join their families or other colleagues. This paper is meant to explore the adverse effects of putting military officers under quarantine (Maclean, 2014).
Last year, there was an outbreak of Ebola in West Africa. Health workers and military personnel from the United States were sent to assist in the control of the spread of the epidemic. It was an act of sacrifice and an utmost selflessness on the part of those who came out to lend a hand. However, no one knows if the military personnel involved volunteered or they were summoned to go. It is safe to assume, as is everything with the operations of the army, which they probably were ordered to serve their flag in West Africa. The men in uniform are therefore equally exposed to the virus and so can easily infect other people (Taft, 2014).
It should be distinguished that when it comes to the military officers, quarantine comes in two layers. For example, the area of service in Liberia where they were actively involved was an isolated area. The administrations of the affected nations in West Africa already quarantined the hardest hit areas of their population. So as the military arrived, they landed in a medically volatile area to aid in the management and containment of the infection. Again, as they left, the members of the United States military did not go home directly. They were quarantined in Vincenza , Italy and Baumholder, Germany. These are foreign military bases of the government of the United States of America (Angerer, 2014).
In Baumholder, Germany, the military facilities are fitted with sofas, televisions, Pool tables and foosball games at Smith Barracks in the rural setting of Germany. These places are specifically set for quarantined officers, even though the bases are no longer active. The officers are expected to feel at home as they are carefully monitored. It is their medical conditions that are watched closely by medical personnel. For those who came from West Africa, where they combated Ebola, an extremely contagious ailment, they are restricted for 21 days.
While it is expected of the officers to get back home to feel appreciated by their countries, the government employed double standards in the quarantine issue. The health workers who volunteered to serve in West Africa were allowed by the federal government to join their families. Such an act obviously had a very adverse effect on the part of the military personnel (Taft, 2014). It is expected, that having served in the same dangerous environment, equal treatment becomes a matter of utmost appreciation of their service and not isolation. The officers were in an isolated place in Liberia and so could have felt lonely. To again restrict them in a far-off foreign land, while the health workers are allowed to get home is morale killing. Exposure to danger was clearly the same.
The president defended his decision to isolate the military officers as commander-in-chief. On his part and that of his government, he explained that the military was a different ball altogether. He said the military, firstly, were not involved in treating patients. Secondly, they were there, not voluntarily, but as an act of obeying certain orders. Giving such explanations automatically affected the stature of military service in a poor light. He seemed to have implied that were it not for an order, the military personnel could not have been there. Considering the sacred duty the officers carried out, it is likely that their hearts were broken (Maclean, 2014). Such explanations probably dampened the spirit of the bureau who served totally from their hearts as the health workers.
There is the effect of quarantine on family members of military officers. Their wives and children long for their husbands and fathers. Their mothers and fathers also long for their sons. To serve in the army is already precarious enough. Now, to go ahead and serve in an Ebola prone region is another level of fear, worry and anxiety. At the end of their mission, their relatives expect their loved ones back home. To again hear that they will be isolated in Germany and Italy is another bad news. The families automatically assume that their sons, husbands, fathers have contracted the deadly disease. The term used by the Pentagon in place of quarantine is close medical monitoring (Angerer, 2014). It almost justifies, to the families of the military officers back at home, that their loved ones are sick. As a result, the families live in trauma, fear and anxiety as they wait for the 21 days to elapse so that they could ascertain the health of their loved ones.
For a disease like SARS or Ebola, the fear in the population that they could contract the disease is enormous. When the nation hears that their military officers serving danger zones are quarantined, their fear escalates. People grow anxious. Instead of living with facts about the disease, people live in fear. Fear is the worst kind of feeling when faced with a situation that demands courage in combating it. Therefore, when the population sees healthcare workers back home and the military officers isolated, questions begin to spring up (Reuters, 2014). If they were serving in the same place, and the officers are being monitored closely, yet health workers are back home, how safe are they. Fear and nervousness is thus instigated on the population.
There is the matter of civil rights and liberties. While it may not be as profound in the military because they follow orders, it is a right that must be respected. To be confined and freedom of movement curtailed is not fair. The officers need to choose if they will go home or not. Quarantine affects the degree to which military personnel can enjoy their civil liberties. On the other hand, it is credible to realize that these rights have responsibilities. The responsibilities include the preservation the life of others. The goal usually, to limit the chances of contamination, which is a noble objective (Maclean, 2014).
Quarantine psychologically impacts on the military officers. Officers develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other depressive symptoms. When the military officers are in the field, they experience scary and dreadful occurrences (Wu et al., 2009). Ebola, for example is an illness that involves bleeding from body openings and so the victims experience lots of pain. Some of the affected people even end up losing their lives. To see women and children suffer in pain and sometimes die is not an easy experience. In some instances, in their duty of helping, some officers contract the deadly diseases. It is so traumatizing to live in environments where pain, death and blood are in abundance. Once these agents leave these places, they are bound to have memories of what they used to see in their daily duties (Wu et al., 2009).
Post-traumatic stress disorder is developed by most soldiers in such missions. It is also called a battle fatigue syndrome that arises when an individual experiences painful events. After serving in their missions, the only people the military officers want to be close to are their families. To be quarantined adds more salt to their psychological injury. Intense fear, anxiety and helplessness dominate the minds of officers. They have reactions such as anger, shock, and nervousness. Some have a sense of guilt that arises from self-blame as they imagine they could have done better to prevent death or suffering of other people ( Angerer, 2014). Flashbacks, nightmares, and hallucinations are evident on officers.
When not checked, post-traumatic stress can develop into chronic depression. Such depression can end the career of officers and even impact negatively on their families. When they are quarantined, the officers do not experience the diverse beauty of life that comes with the liberty to move as they want. Quarantine is more about loneliness which escalates the depressive capability of military officers. PTSD also affects the families of the officers as they try to readjust to the new perceptions of life presented to them (Wu et al., 2009).
Quarantining of the military personnel is an act of immense merits. When carried out well, it can prevent the spread of certain epidemics. However, it has far reaching adverse effects on the officers, their families, their health, their love for their job and the subsequent stature of being a man in uniform. Depressive symptoms are prone in such procedures and should be carefully examined. Legislations and Policies should be passed to take care of officers once they are from duty. Quarantine is not advisable in many instances because of its proven adverse impacts on military personnel.
Angerer, C. (2014). How to Spend 21 Days in Ebola Quarantine: Foosball, WiFi for Troops. NBC News. Retrieved 26 January 2015, from http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/ebola-virus-outbreak/how-spend-21-days-ebola-quarantine-foosball-wifi-troops-n253666
MacLean, A. (2014). Obama Quarantines Soldiers, but Ebola Doctors, Nurses Can Do Whatever they Want. Washington Free Beacon. Retrieved 26 January 2015, from http://freebeacon.com/blog/obama-quarantines-soldiers-but-ebola-doctors-nurses-can-do-whatever-they-want/
Reuters, T. (2014). Pentagon isolates soldiers over Ebola fears, nurse freed from N.J. quarantine. Trust.org. Retrieved 26 January 2015, from http://www.trust.org/item/20141027193117-1k6fu/
Taft, V. (2014). How U.S. Troops React to Mandatory Quarantine is a Powerful Lesson in What Public Service Looks Like. Independent Journal Review. Retrieved 26 January 2015, from http://www.ijreview.com/2014/10/193216-guys-use-services-lawsuit-happy-ebola-nurse-listening/
Wu, P., Fang, Y., Guan, Z., Fan, B., Kong, J., & Yao, Z. et al. (2009). The Psychological Impact of the SARS Epidemic on Hospital Employees in China: Exposure, Risk Perception, and Altruistic Acceptance of Risk. Canadian Journal Of Psychiatry, 54(5), 302. Retrieved from https://www.questia.com/library/journal/1P3-1845146791/the-psychological-impact-of-the-sars-epidemic-on-hospital
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