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TB Patient Identified


Kevin found this picture of Andrew Speaker, the Atlanta lawyer who has been identified as the TB patient causing so much concern this week. Below are the latest updates from Channel 2 in Atlanta:

12:30 UPDATE: Channel 2 Action News has confirmed the TB patient is Andrew Speaker, 31, an Atlanta divorce lawyer.

9:35 UPDATE: The TB patient has arrived in Denver. The man's air ambulance Lear Jet landed at Centennial Airport after a nearly three-hour flight from Atlanta.

9:00 UPDATE: Channel 2 Action News confirms the patient was taken from Grady overnight.

8:30 UPDATE: ABC News reports the patient has left Grady Memorial Hospital and is being transferred to a hospital in Denver.

Update: Fox reports that Speaker's father-in-law is one of the leading TB researchers at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta.
The father-in-law of the 31-year-old man under federal quarantine with a rare and dangerous form of tuberculosis is one of the leading TB researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, FOX News has learned.

Dr. Robert Cooksey, who works in the CDC's Division of Tuberculosis Elimination, confirmed to FOX News that he is the father-in-law of Andrew Speaker, a personal-injury lawyer who practices in his father's law firm in Atlanta.

Asked by FOX News whether it was possible that he had passed along the dangerous strain to his son-in-law, Cooksey said, "Absolutely not." He added that he "works in the lab" and "is not authorized to talk about that."

Update II: ABC News' Diane Sawyer interviewed Speaker, which will air tomorrow morning, but that's not the big news. According to this ABC News article, Speaker has been walking around Atlanta with TB since January. How many people has he come into contact with? This from MedlinePlus:

Tuberculosis (TB) is a bacterial infection caused by a germ called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The bacteria usually attack the lungs, but they can also damage other parts of the body. TB spreads through the air when a person with TB of the lungs or throat coughs, sneezes or talks.

No one even knows how Speaker got TB to begin with; he could have picked it up anywhere. Could he have passed it on to others just as easily?

Andrew Speaker is a highly educated man, so he knew better than to fly on an airplane when he was infected with tuberculosis. You don't need to be a doctor to know that you don't put yourself in an enclosed space with hundreds of other unsuspecting people for hours at a time when you have an infectious airborne illness like TB, drug resistant or not. Also, according to Fox News, Mr. Speaker is a personal injury lawyer, which means that he understood the legal concept of negligence. If anyone on any of those flights comes down with TB, he will find himself the defendant in a very expensive law suit.


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Comments (25)

F'ing lawyers! I s... (Below threshold)

F'ing lawyers!

I shall divest myself of all principle and recommend he be waterboarded.

"Absolutely not" sounds lik... (Below threshold)

"Absolutely not" sounds like "Oh yes, most definitely" to me.

LOL, Lee! I was thinking e... (Below threshold)

LOL, Lee! I was thinking exactly the same thing.

Pigs do fly. I agree with ... (Below threshold)

Pigs do fly. I agree with Lee and BryanD.

I hope every person on ever... (Below threshold)

I hope every person on every plane he flew on after he was told not to fly sues his ass.

And wins.

Another good example of a k... (Below threshold)

Another good example of a kid growing up in the "I don't necessarily have to follow ever rule and besides I'll just talk my way through it later-era of the Clinton Administration" _ I deal with these types regularly.

Somehow the CDC should be r... (Below threshold)

Somehow the CDC should be required/given a mandate to test the strain of TB that Speaker contracted, and compare it with the strains that his father-in-law was working with or near in the CDC lab. If there's even a close matchup, then the CDC and the FIL will have a lot to answer for in terms of security and safety procedures.

And yes, I agree, I hope that everyone who was exposed to Speaker sues his butt off. What a thoughtless, careless human being, and a lawyer to boot!

More important...here is a ... (Below threshold)
nogo postal:

More important...here is a person who was flagged..still was able to fly from Europe into Canada and then drive past U.S. boarder check ...why almost 6 years after 9/11, does this make me believe we are not safer?

Seriously, what kind of wom... (Below threshold)

Seriously, what kind of woman not only gets married to a guy with an active strain of TB, but insists on taking a honeymoon where the disease carrier will have to take commercial airline flights?????

Sorry, but the moment I read that this guy didn't fly back into the U.S., but rather skirted U.S. customs and snuck in across the Canadian border, I knew this guy was well aware of the wrongness of his actions.

Sue his a** off!

/ Also shocked to be in complete agreement with Lee!

OMG, Jim from The Office ha... (Below threshold)

OMG, Jim from The Office has TB...
That was my first thought before reading the text.

nogo, back to being postal I see,
with all of the privacy advocates and lawsuits, I am not surprised that his name and face weren't handy at the border. But he did have to fly into Canada, rather than an easier and cheaper US route, to get home.

I say banish him to Tijuana... (Below threshold)

I say banish him to Tijuana and send doctor bills to his father-in-law.

This guy should be in jail.... (Below threshold)

This guy should be in jail. He refused to stay in the US as directed, and not travel by commercial jet outside the US. When he was informed of his strain of TB while in Rome, he refused to take direction from the CDC. Is the CDC an arm of the federal government? Jurisdiction should lie with Homeland Security and the CDC. All the passengers should sue. Yes, sue him and his father-in-law who "claims" he did not give him advice from the CDC. BS. Of course he asked his father-in-law his opinion. He is not immune from negligence if he told his son-in-law to travel. One wonders.

Now, we also find out he was a Naval Academy graduate? What did he do for the Navy? Where did he pick up this possible fatal disease?

Everyone who has ever been on a flight with someone coughing or sneezing on them or who sit next to someone with the flu can totally understand the extent this scenerio can play out. So what if he looked fine. Looks mean nothing when you have a deadly disease that is HIGHLY contagious.

Paging Michael Moore....</p... (Below threshold)

Paging Michael Moore....

Michael Moore, paging Michael Moore.

Pick-up the white courtesy phone...Please.

Michael Moore, you have another medical patient for Cuba's "medical" system.

Paging Michael Moore....

Not a bad looking young man... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

Not a bad looking young man - for a lunger.

Personal injury lawyer. Hmm. I'm guessing he conspired with his father-in-law to get some of the TB strain and infect himself with it so that he could subsequently sue the CDC for personal injury and retire for life. How's that for a conspiracy theory?

Or maybe his father-in-law just doesn't like the way his daughter has been treated lately...

Hard to figure this guy, se... (Below threshold)

Hard to figure this guy, sets his new wife for TB, sneaks into the country with help from lax (criminal?) guard, generally flaunts all common sense responses. This is truly a spoiled brat of a very evil kind. We should refuse treatment to him and his wife.His father in law should be jailed.

While I am glad to see the ... (Below threshold)

While I am glad to see the attention given to this one case, I do wonder why we don't see more discussion about the so-called Third World diseases that are entering this country every day, largely via illegal immigrants from poverty-stricken, disease ridden environments. Tuberculosis and other illnesses seldom seen in modern America are on the rise.

A recent medical study showed that patients who had blood transfusions during surgery were about 40% more likely to die than patients who did not have blood transfusions. Donor blood is NOT tested for the presence of the so-called Third World diseases and so they are able enter the blood bank supply. Patients who receive blood transfusions also get the diseases the blood contains, but without any immunity to them.

A well-ordered immigration policy that includes a thorough medical screening would prevent the introduction of many dangerous, contagious diseases to the American population. Excellent medical care in this country had eliminated or nearly eliminated many diseases that are now resurfacing, thanks to uncontrolled entry from less medically advanced regions of the world. Yes, airline passengers can transport disease (like bird flu from China), but the much bigger threat comes from those multitudes who arrive on foot or on a leaky raft.

All this fuss over one guy walking around with a highly contagious disease -- when there are thousands more just like him walking the streets in your own cities and exposing you to the risk of infection every day. The danger is now compromising medical care through blood transfusions. How much further will it invade and compromise our safety? Why aren't we seeing that danger reported? Diseases of the body are not political, racist, or homophobic. Measures to control or prevent the spread of contagious disease should not be compromised by political correctness.

I'm a lawyer, but I detest ... (Below threshold)

I'm a lawyer, but I detest duplicitous trial lawyers--this one, and Johnny Edward$.

His father in law has a lot to answer for. Some problems: he didn't give advice when his son in law presents with TB; really? You're the top dog on TB at CDC, but you don't offer an opinion on travel? C'mon, that doesn't pass the laugh test.

To believe that, you'd have to believe that new wife doesn't talk to "Diddy" about her husband. Puhlease.

And, I bet you many trial verdicts that sonny boy's docs told him not to travel. Hell, you've still got TB sanitariums standing in this country. Certainly the docs haven't forgotten that.

This guy originally told the Press that he was "too sophisticated" a guy not to know what was going on. He wasn't some poor loser who didn't understand TB.

He's not a poor loser, just a loser jerk who doesn't get it.

I too am shocked that I'm a... (Below threshold)

I too am shocked that I'm agreeing with Lee, BryanD, even Nogo. Pigs are flying today.

Correcting the record here:... (Below threshold)

Correcting the record here:

1. Border guards had the alert re this guy; and there is one less guard on duty--he is working at a desk per recent news account.

2. This guy did NOT graduate from Naval Academy which he attended before transfer to UGA and graduating with finance degree.

Pretzel and Juslyn are correct: this guy and his busty wife, having taped a Good Morning America show for tomorrow, are typical narcissitic Gen Y, I'm too rich and smart to do "the rules," even if CDC tells me it might endanger others.

They're asses.

This is what the end of the... (Below threshold)

This is what the end of the world looks like... not necessarily this guy... but something similar.

Hmmmm, Seems to m... (Below threshold)


Seems to me that everyone on those planes who had contact with this idiot could sue for emotional distress, etc., irregardless of contracting TB.

I wonder how recent that ph... (Below threshold)

I wonder how recent that photo is since it looks like photo of a 19 year-old Mormon missionary.

I got his email address ...... (Below threshold)

I got his email address .... spam it .... [email protected]

This is where he works ....... (Below threshold)

This is where he works .....

The Speaker Law Firm, PC
4651 Roswell Rd NE, Ste. D-302
Atlanta, Georgia 30342
(404) 531-9868

This is such a sad situatio... (Below threshold)

This is such a sad situation. It's so easy to judge others when we're not in their shoes. This young man is gravely ill, and I'm sure he's confused and afraid. I am praying that no one else was infected, but I am also praying for Mr. Speaker and his family.






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