Stanford doctor who treated Ebola patients under modified quarantine

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ByDavid Louie KGO logo
Thursday, October 30, 2014
Stanford doctor under modified Ebola quarantine
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A Stanford surgeon has been put on modified quarantine in San Mateo County after treating Ebola patients in Liberia for the past month.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- A quarantine ordered for U.S. troops to make sure they do not have Ebola came on the same day California issued its own quarantine. The state is requiring a 21-day quarantine for people traveling from Ebola-stricken areas who have had contact with infected patients. And one of those now under a modified quarantine on the Peninsula is a Stanford surgeon who recently traveled to Liberia. It's a story we first broke on Twitter Wednesday afternoon.

The Stanford doctor has been identified as a 43-year-old San Mateo County resident and a frequent volunteer with medical missions overseas. While the state didn't issue its mandatory quarantine for Ebola treatments until Wednesday, it appears this case is being treated with some latitude by local health officers.

No federal or state quarantine orders existed when Dr. Colin Bucks returned to the Bay Area last Friday. An emergency department surgeon at Stanford, Bucks had spent a month treating Ebola patients in Liberia.

Local health officials consulted with state and federal health officers to put him under a modified quarantine as a health care provider under some risk.

He must stay away from work and away from others. However, he has been given permission to go jogging by himself. He must take his temperature twice daily and report in to county health officials.

ABC7 News has video of Bucks in January after he returned from the Philippines on a medical mission after typhoon. He has also volunteered his time in Haiti. In Liberia, he was working with the non-profit group International Medical Corps.

County health officers will have latitude to impose the quarantine orders on a case-by-case basis

"It sets a floor and sort of a holding legal order until the local health department can interview the traveler, really understand the exposures, and understanding any restrictions that might need to be put in place," said Santa Clara County Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody.

Dr. Phuoc Le is preparing to leave for West Africa to treat Ebola patients. He's affiliated with UCSF and the UC Berkeley School of Public Health. He was planning to impose a 21-day quarantine on himself upon his return, even before the state mandate was issued. That means isolation from his 2-year-old daughter and wife.

"I really wish I could interact with them," he said. "But because of this public perception, I don't want them to be stigmatized on account of my actions in the field."

One by one, government agencies seem to be standardizing the 21-day quarantine measure, which will lead to uniformity. It will also put volunteer health workers on notice of this obligation upon their return.

To read the quarantine order from the California Department of Public Health, click here.

For full coverage on the Ebola crisis, click here.