An Alabama doctor said he would no longer treat patients who have yet to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, citing the low vaccination rate and spread of the Delta variant as the two main reasons for the growing pandemic.
Diagnostic and Medical Clinic Infirmary Health physician Dr. Jason Valentine from Mobile recently uploaded a photograph on Facebook. The image showed him next to a sign that said, "Effective Oct.1, 2021, Dr. Valentine will no longer see patients that are not vaccinated against COVID-19."
Unvaccinated May Not Get Treated
Valentine revealed that after he shared the post, three unvaccinated patients immediately asked him where they could get inoculated. He said that if people asked him why he would say that it was because the coronavirus was a "miserable way to die" and that he could no longer watch people suffer the same way.
In a statement, the medical professional said he planned on mailing a letter to his patients telling them about his decision. To get all of his patients, he opted to post the letter online, announcing his plans to only treat vaccinated individuals, NBC News reported.
In North Texas, a group of doctors sent an email this week telling members that they could take vaccination status into consideration when determining who gets ICU beds. The decision comes amid the potential threat that the region could experience another crisis.
The memo from the North Texas Mass Critical Guidelines Task Force was leaked and published on Thursday. It wrote that since vaccination against the coronavirus greatly increases the chances of surviving the infection, a patient's vaccination status could be used to determine whether or not they get an ICU bed.
The guidelines were created with a level 3 crisis stage in mind, which Dr. Robert Fine, a co-chairman of the task force, said could happen in the next two weeks. While the task force's guidelines are not enforceable, they are generally followed, Yahoo News reported.
Vaccination Status as Determining Factor
On Thursday, Dr. Mark Casanova, the director of clinical ethics for Baylor University Medical Center, said that the memo was only meant to guide doctors in triaging patients in limited situations. Hours after his initial statement, Casanova said the memo was only a "homework assignment" that members could give their feedback to.
The medical professional said that in the midst of their discussions, the task force said that they will not consider vaccination status as a determining factor for who gets an ICU bed. The guidelines advise doctors, in the direst scenario, to score each patient for a variety of medical factors in deciding who has the best chance of survival. Characteristics such as race, gender, disability, age, or weight cannot be used as factors to avoid discrimination.
Additionally, factors such as religion, socioeconomic status, insurance status, or ability to pay shall not play a role in who gets the highest level of care in the hospital. Casanova explained that there was a great degree of neutrality in how the task force approached the situation but added that they were also individualizing it, NBC DFW reported.