Snyderman returns to NBC News, apologizes for breaking Ebola quarantine

Snyderman returns to NBC News, apologizes for breaking Ebola quarantine
NBC News' chief medical editor Dr. Nancy Snyderman, pictured in 2011, returned to NBC News Dec. 3 and apologized on-air for breaking a self-imposed Ebola quarantine after returning from West Africa. (Peter Kramer / Associated Press)

NBC News medical correspondent Dr. Nancy Snyderman apologized Wednesday morning for violating a voluntary quarantine in the days after she returned from West Africa, where she was reporting on the Ebola outbreak.

"I'm very sorry for not only scaring my community and the country, but adding to the confusion" surrounding patient quarantine and isolation, Snyderman told Matt Lauer on the Today show Wednesday, her first appearance on the network since the controversy.

Snyderman had been working with photographer Ashoka Mukpo, who tested positive for Ebola and was later brought to a Nebraska hospital, where he was treated for and recovered from the disease.

The crew agreed to avoid public contact and monitor their temperatures daily until the 21-day incubation period for Ebola had passed.

But on Oct. 9, Snyderman and members of her TV crew were spotted outside a restaurant in Hopewell, N.J., just 72 hours after placing themselves in the voluntary quarantine. The discovery drew sharp criticism and prompted local health officials to place the crew members under mandatory quarantine while they continued to monitor their temperatures.

"We knew our risks in our heads, but didn't really appreciate, and frankly we were not sensitive to how absolutely frightened Americans were," Snyderman said in the interview.

"Good people can make mistakes," Snyderman said. "I stepped outside the boundaries of what I promised to do and what the public expected of me, and for that I'm sorry."

Asked whether she would return to West Africa to report on the outbreak, Snyderman responded, "I would go back tomorrow and so would my entire team."

But, she said, she is concerned that the controversy over her quarantine has become a "distraction" from the focus on reporting on the outbreak.

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