by a group of PANDA doctors
Medical care fundamentally demands treatment be provided without judgment for a patient’s personal beliefs. If a practitioner’s emotions do not allow them to dispense medical care without bias, they should immediately resign.
Major news outlets, relying on incorrect data, fabricated numbers and manufactured scenarios, are encouraging refusal of patient care for unvaccinated people. This trend, advocating for withholding and denying treatment to COVID patients, is extremely alarming and violates basic medical ethics.
These ethics have been fundamental to the practice of medicine and public health since the 1940’s, when the Nuremberg and later the Declaration of Helsinki codified the autonomy of individuals over their own bodies and health. Under the preceding Geneva Convention, even “enemy” soldiers have a right to proper medical care, they must be seen and treated by medical staff as neutral agents.
Medical practices are required to treat patients without prejudice to the cause of their illnesses. The core of medical ethics, which are universally established and practiced, compels us to provide service regardless of a patient’s values, behaviors or personal character. Physicians cannot deny service because a patient is an illegal drug user or dealer, sexual predator, thief or murderer. One would never contemplate refusing treatment to the patient who is injured in a car crash due to their use of alcohol. We do not refuse an ICU bed to a DKA patient because they ate sugar and didn’t take their meds properly!
It is unacceptable and possibly criminal to deny services to a patient because they engaged in a behavior that is not in alignment with the treating practitioner’s belief system.
Furthermore, medical and ethical principles require all interventions be voluntary and need informed consent. To refuse a hospital or ICU bed to a Covid19 patient because they did not consent to taking experimental therapeutics, is grossly unethical! The ruling allowing these experimental vaccines to be used clearly states that it is voluntary and requires fully informed consent be obtained prior to administration.
There is no basis in medicine for withholding treatment from patients. In a medical emergency, if a situation arises to completely overwhelm the system, a multi-pronged and coordinated response is essential. Relying blindly on a one size fits all solution is the primary reason for the system’s failure.
We must never, as a profession, allow a disease, no matter how overwhelming or scary it seems, to erode our hard thought out and fought for ethics!