Fearing that she had become “too much a part of the story” after her involvement with covering the Ebola outbreak, Nancy Snyderman has chosen to resign from her position as Chief Medical Editor for NBC News. Last fall after reporting from Ebola outbreak sites in Liberia, Snyderman returned home to the U.S. and was asked to self-quarantine herself for the standard 21 days. This came about not only as a precautionary measure, but because one of her crew members contracted the disease, and the public at large was so panic-stricken regarding the Ebola outbreak. Instead of following the guidelines of her quarantine, she chose to hop in a car and leave her home to order takeout.
This caused massive amounts of public fear and backlash. The local authorities of New Jersey were then forced to place her on a mandatory quarantine, along with the rest of her crew. After being placed on the mandatory quarantine, Snyderman released a statement that many people did not care for. In it Snyderman said, “As a medical professional I know that we do not have any symptoms showing and truly cause no risk to the public.” This was taken by some as arrogance, because symptoms of Ebola are not always manifested immediately. She took the chance of exposing the public to a deadly disease without thinking how it would look and effect others.
Before resigning from NBC News, Snyderman’s medical opinion was well sought out on a variety of topics. She became well-known for her stories on “debunking popular medical myths,” such as the myths about sugar and how it affects one’s body. Another notable myth that had the light shined on it was one about dehydration.
Recently new quarantine laws have been introduced by Assemblywoman Donna Simon. These new rules will apply to any person and any disease; be it Snyderman with Ebola, or some other individual suspected of having smallpox. The rules would make it to where anyone who violates the conditions of a quarantine can be charged with a disorderly person charge. The penalties for this charge are up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. While Snyderman was not mentioned by name, it seems likely that these regulations were made up with her and another nurse, who had disobeyed quarantine rules after returning from Africa, Kaci Hickox, in mind.
Snyderman stayed off the air until December, when she gave an outright apology to the community at large. She said on Today, “I’m very sorry for my actions and did not mean to scare my community or the country itself. This happened because I was caught in the confusion surrounding the Ebola outbreak.” A spokesperson for NBC News stated Thursday, after Snyderman resigned, “She’s been a valuable asset both on the air and in private meetings, we wish her all the best.” Snyderman had been with NBC News for 10 years.
Snyderman says she will be taking a faculty position at a “major U.S. medical school” though she has chosen to withhold what school will be receiving her expertise. After resigning from NBC News, she went on to say, “There needs to be more done with the fields of medicine and science properly communicating with the general public, especially in times of crisis.”
By Benjamin Johnson
Photo by Tyrone C. Marshall Jr. – Flickr License