I found it horrifying with the way Mary Mallon’s predicament was received with utmost bureaucratic incompetence and public demonization. Mary’s treatment as a typhoid fever carrier is a reflection of indigent social comprehension and lack of libertarian thoughts among the public health officials and law enforcement institutions. Additionally, it was extremely inhumane given how public health department and law enforcement handled Mary’s case by nationally publicizing her issue and turning her into the incarnation of the disease. Moreover, the fact that she was actually nicknamed as ‘Typhoid Mary’ in 1908 by the American Medical Association journal is absurd. By and large, I think that the public health department was highly unprofessional because it carelessly heightened Mary’s social stigma, associated her with the disease without due evidence and adequate communication, and viewed the entire typhoid fever as an individual’s mistake, instead of a possible biological reality condition. Moreover, it was devastating to confront Mary with such a remarkable aggression, and even proceed to confine her at North Brothers Island without due communication or trial; instead of showing empathy and collaborating with her to craft effective measures to mitigate the transmission of typhoid fever.
Additionally, in relevance to inform of decision, Doctor Laderle and the entire public health department had all the information concerning Mary’s health condition. They adequately conveyed their decision as a clear unambiguous order to Mary to ensure that she upheld the best practice to prevent further transmission of the contagious typhoid bacteria. Therefore, the department head, Dr Lederle, ordered Mary to sign an affidavit to confirm that she was prepared to change her cooking career to secure her release from the North Brothers Island. Notably, this affidavit decision was administered in Mary’s best interest, as a hygienic precaution to protect the individuals that came in contact with her.
Further, in relevance to informed consent, Mary was released by the new health commissioner, Doctor Lederle, from the North Brothers Island where she was quarantined for two years and ordered to shun working as a cook because she was indeed confirmed as a healthy carrier. She was even provided with a job at the bottom of a domestic ladder to help her financially. However, she did not uphold the terms of the release affidavit and resumed her job in the cookeries of her unsuspicious employer at Sloane Maternity in Manhattan under a different name, hence, threatening public health again. Therefore, this insinuates that Mary had the free will to uphold the terms of the affidavits, but she chose to do otherwise. In fact, at Sloane Maternity, she transmitted the disease to twenty-five health workers and staff within three months. This compelled the public health department to take her back to the North Brother Island, where she was confined until her demise in 1932.
Indeed, Mary was subjected to cold treatment and prejudice in the society due to her condition as a Salmonella typhi carrier. Instead of the public health department collaborating and convincing that her that she endangered the lives of other people, the department resolved to quarantine her twice and made her a laboratory pet without adequate explanation of her condition. Moreover, Mary’s perceived position as a huge threat to human health in the society subjected her to extensive victimization based on health laws, press, and cynical physicians who took a lot of time to test her, and absolutely little time to counsel her. Hence, since typhoid was significantly linked to poverty and filth, Mary felt that she as unfairly targeted because of her economic class and origin. Besides, Doctor George Sober publicized his findings in the print media, a move that labeled Mary as a threat to national health and subjected her to humiliation, social stigma, and victimization from the public opinion. In addition, Mary’s position as a cook made some to believe that she had malicious intentions with her occupation. Conspicuously, use of pseudonym at Sloane Maternity to conceal her identity intensified the situation because people felt that Mary recognized she was guilty.