Friday, December 3

Doctor in the US refuses to treat patients not vaccinated against COVID and sparks controversy

Jason Valentine works in a clinic in the city of Mobile, Alabama, USA. The doctor announced that he will refuse to treat patients not vaccinated against COVID as of October 1 next and unleashed the controversy around the ethical approaches of his decision.

“Effective October 1, 2021. Dr. Valentine will no longer see patients who are not vaccinated against COVID-19”Reads an ad posted on a door that has been broadcast on Facebook.

The doctor specializes in family medicine and works at the Nursing Health Diagnostic and Medical Clinic in Saraland, Alabama. 47% of Alabama’s population has received just one dose of COVID-19 vaccines available, making it one of the states with the lowest vaccination rates in the country.

Additionally, according to the state Department of Public Health, Alabama hospitals were left without beds in intensive care units this week amid the surge in COVID-19 cases driven by the Delta variant, which more severely affects non-patients. vaccinated.

Dr. Valentine would have sent a letter to his patients to explain his decision, which he published on his Facebook account to later delete it. According to the reportsThe letter said: “We still don’t have great treatments for serious diseases, but we have great prevention with vaccines. Unfortunately, many have refused to be vaccinated and some end up seriously ill or dead. I cannot and will not force anyone to be vaccinated, but neither can I continue to watch my patients suffer and die from an eminently preventable disease. Therefore, as of October 1, 2021, I will no longer see patients who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19. If you wish to keep me as your physician, documentation of your vaccination will suffice. If you want to choose another doctor, we will be happy to transfer your records. “

Medical ethics vs. personal ethics

Comments from Facebook users were swift: “It is illegal and a violation of your Hippocratic Oath to deny care to any patient. Furthermore, everyone should have the right to medical care. Denying care to someone in need is unethicalespecially in regards to the individual choice of someone related to their health, ”wrote one.

“If they refuse to be vaccinated and become seriously ill, doctors should have the right to treat or treat them last. In some Western countries, doctors will not treat heart patients or tongue cancer patients if they are smokers. They deserve what awaits them for their actions. Point. I am totally in favor of Dr. Valentine. He can also choose”Commented another.

For its part, Susan Pace Hamill, a law professor at the University of Alabama, told the Huffington Post that Valentine’s decision raises an ethical problem because the Hippocratic Oath urges physicians to treat patients with compassion, but “physicians are free to make decisions based on principles of their personal ethics“.

“Because the vaccine is free and safe, Dr. Valentine seems to be taking an ethical stance that He will only dedicate his talent and training, which is a limited resource, to those patients who have fulfilled their own ethical responsibilities“, he pointed.

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