Dear NBC: Why does this woman still have a job?
First Dr. Nancy Snyderman endangered the public by defying a voluntary quarantine for possible Ebola exposure, apparently because she just couldn’t bear to be without her favorite soup. Now she eliminates all doubt about her trustworthiness and character—none to the first, not much of the latter— with a terrible, blame-shifting, non-apology apology:
“While under voluntary quarantine guidelines, which called for our team to avoid public contact for 21 days, members of our group violated those guidelines and understand that our quarantine is now mandatory until 21 days have passed. We remain healthy and our temperatures are normal. As a health professional I know that we have no symptoms and pose no risk to the public, but I am deeply sorry for the concerns this episode caused. We are thrilled that Ashoka is getting better and our thoughts continue to be with the thousands affected by Ebola whose stories we all went to cover.”
1. “Members” violated those guidelines? SHE did! The statement is deceitful and misleading.
2. “As a health professional I know that we have no symptoms and pose no risk to the public”—she can’t possibly know—yet—whether she and the rest of the exposed group pose a threat. And her conduct in this matter has been anything but professional.
3. Oh, she’s sorry for the “concerns.” She doesn’t apologize for sending someone who shared a car with her into a restaurant, risking the infection of large numbers of people, or violating the quarantine, or causing her group to have to be formally quarantined because she was too full of herself to eschew her favorite soup, or embarrassing the news media, NBC, and two professions: journalists and doctors. She’s just sorry all the uneducated hysterics out there got worried when she, the great Doctor Snyderman, just knows in her infinite expertise that silly precautions like quarantines don’t apply to her.
This episode certifies Snyderman as a fick, the Ethics Alarms designation for someone who is a mega-jerk and wants everyone to know it. As for the yecch-worthy apology, it ranks at the very bottom of the Ethics Alarms Apology Scale. It is a Category 10: “An insincere and dishonest apology designed to allow the wrongdoer to escape accountability cheaply, and to deceive his or her victims into forgiveness and trust, so they are vulnerable to future wrongdoing.”