Officials Admit Errors in TB Case
Officials, Patient at Odds Over Travel Warnings
No Benefit of the Doubt continued...
Gerberding suggested officials hesitated to inform the World Health
Organization and European governments until it was clear Speaker was positive
for XDR TB. But she suggested that a bigger mistake was not moving more swiftly
to detain Speaker in Europe when he had already traveled against medical advice
and was likely to do so again.
“What we have learned is that when a patient is not willing to cooperate, we
cannot give that person the benefit of the doubt any more,” Gerberding
Speaker, who testified by phone from quarantine at National Jewish Hospital
in Denver, Colorado, maintained that doctors at the May 10 meeting did not tell
him he could be a risk to others.
“None of us were wearing masks. I was repeatedly told I was not contagious.
Not that I was partly contagious, but that I was not contagious,” he said.
Officials contradicted that claim. Katkowsky told lawmakers that Speaker's
medical record and a follow-up letter issued the next day both indicate Speaker
was told that he could be a danger to others.
Gerberding told lawmakers that the CDC became aware of Speaker’s
drug-resistant diagnosis on May 18, and that tests confirming XDR TB were
completed four days later.
Speaker suggested the agency knew about his drug-resistant status long
before. Two doctors in the May 10 meeting were CDC employees, though neither
was there in an official CDC capacity, Katkowsky confirmed. One was a CDC
doctor working at the Fulton County clinic as a treating physician. The other
was Speaker’s father-in-law, Robert Cooksey, a CDC microbiologist who
specializes in tuberculosis.
Sen. Harkin said he would consider recalling Gerberding to testify again on
when the agency was first aware of Speaker’s drug-resistant status.