COMM1100—Forensic Speech: Defending the CDC—Spring 2015
A. [Attention Gaining Device] Most of you here have probably heard about the recent outbreak of Ebola, a disease that causes hemorrhages, bleeding, and ultimately death, in Africa. What you may not know is that the disease has claimed over 720 lives just in the first two months of the outbreak, according to Alice Park’s 2014 TIME Magazine article. And this pathogenic killer is closer to home than you may think. B. [Reveal Topic and Relate to Audience] The Center for Disease Control, or CDC, an Atlanta-based health organization, recently transported a doctor infected with Ebola from Africa to Emory hospital, conveniently located only a few blocks away from the CDC headquarters. While people are expected to trust such an important organization’s decisions, many are worried about the transportation of such a dangerous disease to Atlanta. C. [Establish Credibility] I myself am a pharmaceutical sciences major, so I am very interested in diseases and how they spread, making this controversy especially appealing to me. D. [Thesis and Preview of Main Points] I am here today, despite many opposing opinions on the matter, to defend the CDC in its decision to bring Ebola patients to Atlanta for studying and treatment. I will present my argument by first stating the facts about the controversy surrounding this decision, then explaining some key arguments, and finally refuting a common argument of the opposition. [Transition] Let me begin by giving you all some background information. II. Body
A. [Statement of the Facts] After bringing the infected doctor back to America in early August, the CDC insisted that Americans were completely safe from the disease and they are planning on transporting more patients in the near future. Despite their assertions, however, Ray Henry and Mike Stobbe note in their 2014 Associated Press article that the organization received hundreds of angry phone calls and emails from citizens outraged that the CDC would bring such a disease into the country, not believing they would truly be able to contain a disease that kills up to 80% of those it infects. [Transition] With this information in mind I’d now like to present a few arguments in defense of the CDC’s decision. B. [Arguments and Support]
1. First of all, the CDC has handled multiple outbreaks at Emory Hospital before—some of which are far more contagious than Ebola. a. For example, Henry and Stobbe state that in 2005, there was an outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome that was taken care of at Emory. Unlike Ebola, which can only spread through bodily fluids, SARS is an airborne disease, which makes it even more difficult and dangerous to handle. b. Because the CDC was able to contain an outbreak with much higher stakes and a higher probability of spreading, it should be able to contain a few Ebola patients easily. 2. Next, because the organization has handled worse diseases before, they know what precautions to take to control it. a. As I stated earlier, Ebola is not an airborne disease. It is spread through direct contact with or ingestion of blood, other types of bodily fluids, or wild animals infected with the disease.’ b. According to Steven Ross Johnson in his recent Modern Healthcare article, it is currently CDC regulation for all healthcare professionals dealing with Ebola to wear gloves, a fluid-protected gown, eye goggles, and a face mask, while providing other optional precautions. In addition, these patients are isolated within the hospital and are unable to come into contact with their families, other patients, or anyone who isn’t a health care worker. With these precautions in order, it is near impossible for the disease to spread. [Transition] There are, however, many Americans who are appalled with the CDC’s decision. C. [Refutation]: A common argument against the CDC as Betsy McCaughey from Fox News states in her 2014 online article is that the CDC itself reports that 75,000 patients die in US hospitals from infections spread between patients. 1. While this may be a true fact, it is still wildly unlikely that Ebola will follow the same path. a. According to Dr. Felissa Lashley and Dr. Jerry Durham in their 2007 book, Emerging Infectious Diseases, the biggest reason why Ebola is spreading through Africa is because of their lack of sanitary facilities. With the CDC’s high safety precautions that I previously outlined, the patients will be contained in a highly sanitary facility and the disease is unlikely to spread between patients. b. Because of these facts, the CDC was still ultimately right to bring the Ebola patients to Atlanta for further study. III. Conclusion
A. [Signal End and Summarize Main Points] To conclude, these past few minutes I have reviewed the CDC’s experience with similar outbreaks, explained the way this experience has led them to use the proper safety precautions when dealing with Ebola patients, and used this information to refute the opposing viewpoint. I used these arguments to defend the CDC’s choice to bring Ebola patients to the US. B. [“Time to Clap” Line] In the future, I hope we are all able to see a disease-free world. Because the CDC is making decisions like this one and spending the time to study dangerous diseases on their own turf, this future is a realistic possibility.
Henry, Ray, and Mike Stobbe. “US Doctor with Ebola in Atlanta for Treatment.” Associated Press. 2 Aug. 2014. Online.
Johnson, Steven Ross. “Do Ebola Precautions go far Enough?.” Modern Healthcare. Online. Lashley, Felissa R., PhD., and Jerry R. Durham, PhD. Emerging Infectious Diseases. New York: Springer Publishing Company. 2007. Print.
McCaughey, Betsy. “Ebola Crisis: Yes we need to Help but is Obama Ready to Keep Americans Safe?.” Fox News. 19 Sept. 2014. Online.
Park, Alice. “Containing Ebola is Extremely Labor Intensive.” Time 2 Aug. 2014. Online.