We have finally heard in his own words from the man under widespread criticism for traveling with a dangerous form of tuberculosis. In an exclusive interview from his hospital room with ABC’s Diane Sawyer, Andrew Speaker said he’s sorry for the anxiety he’s causing, but claimed he really hasn’t done anything wrong.
“I just hope they can forgive me and understand that I really believed I wasn’t putting people at risk,” 31-year-old Speaker said.
Is now being held in near isolation at Denver’s Jewish National Medical Center for treatment of his rare form of TB. Several months ago when he was diagnosed, Speaker said his doctors assured him that he was not contagious. He decided to go ahead with plans for his wedding in Greece, but before traveling, he and his father, also a lawyer, met with health officials about the trip.
“My father said, ‘okay, now are you saying prefer not to go on the trip because he’s a risk to any to anybody or are you simply saying that to cover yourself,’” Speaker explained.
Speaker said his father even tape recorded that meeting. After the family left for the wedding, the CDC said more tests determined that Speaker had the antibiotic-resistant form of TB. Speaker was told to not fly back to the states but to turn himself into Italian health officials. They even put him on a no-fly list, but to evade detection speaker and his wife flew to Montreal and then drove across the border.
“Before I left, I knew it was made clear to me, that in order to fight this, I had one shot, and that was going to be in Denver,” Speaker explained.
So far, no members of Speaker’s family have tested positive for TB and Speaker himself shows no symptoms.