Coughing Crimes

When Robert Daniels was diagnosed with an extensively drug-resistant strain of tuberculosis, or XDR-TB, he came to the U.S. thinking he'd get better treatment — but, instead, has been locked up in a hospital like a criminal.

After a 15-year stay in Russia, Daniels returned to the U.S. only to be quarantined since July, in a four-bed cell in Ward 41, a section of the hospital reserved for sick criminals. He is unable to take a shower, and his television, radio, personal phone and computer have been taken away. Daniels only visitors are masked medical staff members, who come to give him medication.

Doctors said that Daniels didn't take precautions, such as wearing a mask in public, and had to be quarantined; Daniels contends that he didn't know how the disease worked and now realizes that he endangered the public. READ MORE

FNC wants to know — do you think jailing Daniels is an unfair infringement on his rights, or a necessary measure to protect the public health? E-mail us at and let us know what you think!

Here's What FOX Fans Are Saying:

"As a medical professional working in pathology, I become very alarmed when people walk around among us with highly contagious, untreatable, fatal diseases, and do nothing to protect those around them. I feel for this man's loss of freedom, and do think that the conditions he is kept under should be more comfortable, but I do feel he should be kept away from the general populace." — Charles

"I believe he should at least have a TV and a shower. I mean, even murderers get to watch TV — what would it hurt to have a TV and showers? Other than that, it is completely fair to keep him away, and I think it should be done more often. If the person doesn't have enough morals to not want to infect others, then we have to take drastic measures to ensure the disease doesn't spread further." — D.D.

"It is better to keep him quarantined so that this doesn't spread. You cannot let this man walk the streets and expose others. If he won't take the necessary precautions, then this is what needs to happen. ESPECIALLY if there is not a cure for it." — Carol (San Antonio, TX)

"Send him back to Russia in handcuffs and a mask on the plane. Notify the Russian authorities and ship the medication to his doctors if necessary." — Sharon

"There is no doubt he should be retained until he is no longer a danger to the public. Yes, I feel sorry for his plight, but I am unwilling to have such people risking my children's lives." — Laura (Michigan)

"Mr. Daniels needs understand one thing — his life is NOT worth scores of other lives. He must bite the bullet and be thankful he has some level of existence. Who says life is fair? Mr. Daniels should, without question, be quarantined for as long as the virus is detected in his blood. If this means the rest of his life then he should offer the same as a necessary measure to protect the public health. " — Charles

"Why not hospitalize the man? He could be isolated in a private room and get the needed medical attention. I am guessing that jailing him is a cost effective measure, but this is an infringement on his rights." — Mary

"I believe the rights of the many to be free from TB outweigh the rights of one man. It would be a injustice to allow this man to be free to infect the unsuspecting public." — Ed (Spokane, WA)

"No, I don't think it was unfair to jail the man who refused to take precautions for TB, if he was informed that he was posing a danger to others. I find it hard to believe that physicians did not inform him of this fact, as I would think they would be required to educate their patients on the seriousness of this disease. If he deliberately disregarded medical instruction, then yes, I think he should be jailed, as it shows a total disregard for others' welfare. Why should everyone else be put at risk, if his non-compliance with medical treatment is purely for selfish reasons? If that be the case, of course." — H.F. (Winder, GA)

"I think he does need to be separate from others, but there has to be a more humane way to do this, he shouldn't be in such an austere environment." — Diane

"I definitely feel that Daniels needs to be totally isolated from the rest of the world and if the 'jail' ward is the only place available, then so be it. Better one person not apply than a whole lot of sick people. I do not see his rights being abused — I see a necessary step being taken. There is no right to infect the rest of the world with this horrible disease. I feel badly for him, but what has transpired could not be helped; I don't see it as punishment." — Julie

"When you drive under the influence of alcohol, knowingly putting the public at risk for serious injury or death, it is a crime for which thousands are arrested each year, and sometimes imprisoned. I see no difference between that crime, or Mr. Daniels' actions as a gross disregard for public safety — save for the grim potential of an XDR-TB outbreak causing significantly more harm. " — Tim

"Sanitariums were in the U.S. in the 1950s, and no one thought it unfair to protect the citizens. This is so contagious, just a sneeze or cough could infect many innocent people. Nurses worked in those sanitariums knowing how to take precautions. The general public is not aware of this huge problem facing us. Quarantine is the only solution." — George

"Since this man did not have the decency to put a mask on, as he was told to do by doctors, he exposed others to this deadly disease. He should be locked up permanently. Had a baby, child, elderly person or anyone else caught the diseases, I am quite sure that it would not have bothered him a bit. If he is so disenchanted with the U.S., he should go back to Russia where he got the disease to begin with and see if they treat him any better." — Marie

"I believe that it was a necessary measurement at the time. How many people did he infect with this TB before he was arrested? If he is willing to take all the necessary precautions now, then he should be allowed to try to live as normal a life as possible." — Ginger (Richland, WA)

"This is an outrage. What will our government be able to do to us next? The man is sick. This does not sound like a democracy. It sounds like it should be happening in Russia or some other foreign country — Not the USA, where we are suppose to free." — Betty

"Whether someone threatens society with a gun, or a disease, it is no different. He should be quarantined no matter what his intentions are, but any type of prosecution should be based on intent or his knowledge of the disease. If he was truly ignorant then leave him in quarantine. If he was acting in order to harm, then punish him otherwise. " — Ryan

"I am growing very weary about people who cry 'my rights are being infringed' when they never think once about the rights of others. This guy was ordered to wear a mask and take other precautions to keep other people from getting sick. He did not follow those orders, and now we have to force him to not get other people sick?" — Michael

"Keep Mr. Daniels where he is until cured. To let him out in public would be asinine. There's no telling how many people he has already infected." — Lynn

"Please, give him a computer! At least he can talk with people to pass the time. I have MS, although I am not 'locked up' so to speak, at least I have a way to interact with others and know that there are other people in the world! GOD bless him, people help him!" — J.M.

"I think this was a necessary measure. However, I don't see the point in taking his computer, phone, television, etc. He hasn't been charged with anything and so not a criminal - in fact criminals get more privileges than this." — Gail

"It's a necessary measure to protect the public health. By walking around with this XDR-TB he was exposing a deadly disease on the everyone around him. We have to draw the line somewhere for our nation's health. Now just imagine 500 illegals crossing our borders with XDR-TB , its a Sci-Fi movie waiting to be real." — J.C.

"Send him to Iran or Iraq or to a medical center but do not let him walk our streets! Did we not learn any thing from the AIDS virus? Civil Rights? Let the ACLU take this guy home with them and talk about it ... Come on ACLU, put your selves on the line ... I bet NONE of you will sit down with this guy with out a mask on!" — Gary (Suwanee, GA)

"His rights, what about the health and welfare of the rest of the country. It only takes one to spread the disease to many more people. I feel bad that he is confined. But I also don't want him near my grandchildren. He chose not to wear protection. He can stay where he is." — Maureen

"Keeping him in isolation is perfectly acceptable, under the circumstances. And I even understand if the only place to house him is a jail ward at the hospital. But to deny him privileges such as phone, TV, showering, etc is uncalled for. There's no punishment needed when there is no crime. The jail staff need to back off and make this unfortunate man as comfortable as possible." — F.H.

"This is a tough decision to have to make, but the public has to be protected. However, he shouldn't have to be treated like a criminal. ( Unless he is one). There should be a way to shower, and have a TV and anything else to make him comfortable." — Jim

"I think Mr. Daniels got what he deserved. He had no regard for other people's health, walking around without a mask. This is a rare form of TB. Virtually incurable and untreatable. Do you really want yourself or your family exposed to this?" — Ron

"It is a necessary measure to protect the public if he's not going to take precautions!" — Janice (Sheridan, AR)

"This is the part I think is criminal. He should be isolated from others if he refused to take the necessary precautions. But, why the removal of these items? Why hasn't anyone asked that question? He appears to be in solitary confinement but hasn't been convicted of anything." — Dennis

"Quarantine until and if he is no longer able to transmit his illness in proper; however, to hold him in prison as a criminal rather than in a hospital as an ill person is unconscionable." — Marica (Virginia)