Ethics Dunce: Jason Valentine, MD

Doctors sign

Valentine, a physician at Diagnostic and Medical Clinic Infirmary Health in Mobile, Alabama., posted that photo on Facebook this week. If the Alabama medical board has any integrity whatsoever, he will be cited for an ethical violation. If I were in charge, I’d suspend his license. Id’ revoke his license. He should not be trusted.

The Washington Post article about Valentine’s unethical stand concentrates on the problem unvaccinated citizens (and non-citizens) are causing in the nation’s effort to get past the pandemic. All of it is irrelevant. So are Valentine’s various explanations for his position, like “[C]ovid is a miserable way to die and I can’t watch them die like that,” and “We do not yet have any great treatments for severe disease, but we do have great prevention with vaccines. Unfortunately, many have declined to take the vaccine, and some end up severely ill or dead. I cannot and will not force anyone to take the vaccine, but I also cannot continue to watch my patients suffer and die from an eminently preventable disease.”

Then go into another field, you arrogant asshole. You’re a professional, and your professional code of ethics directs that you apply your medical skills to all human beings, not just the one you approve of. There are no good reasons to refuse to treat someone in need of medical care. Saying you won’t treat the vaccinated is ethically identical to saying you won’t treat dug addicts, or alcoholics, or unwed mothers, or gays, or convicted felons, or rapists, or child abusers, or Republicans, or Donald Trump. You don’t understand your own ancient profession’s ethical duties, and you cannot and should not be trusted to practice medicine. On anyone.

Periodical commenter (and old friend) Vinnymick alerted me to this story, adding, “I think this doc is unethical, even though I want all to get vaxxed.” As is usually the case, he is correct.

17 thoughts on “Ethics Dunce: Jason Valentine, MD

  1. The old slippery slope – smokers, the obese, … and the list goes on.

    I think this guy is trying to put himself out of business – “I only treat healthy people who don’t need me.”

  2. Valentine, a physician at Diagnostic and Medical Clinic Infirmary Health in Mobile, Alabama., posted that photo on Facebook this week. If the Alabama medical board has any integrity whatsoever, he will be cited for an ethical violation. If I were in charge, I’d suspend his license. Id’ revoke his license. He should not be trusted.

    If that bothers you, Jack, this ought to blow your mind:

    The University of Washington Medical Center denied organ transplants to patients who refuse a COVID vaccine as early as June 2021. And hospital officials refuse to answer basic questions about their policy.

    So it looks to me like the doctor in your article is right in line with this thinking.

    Here’s hoping for a public backlash, but at this point, I’m not sanguine.

  3. Mark Barta made this point.

    https://www.quora.com/As-a-vaccinated-American-how-do-you-feel-about-those-refusing-the-shot-as-cases-surge-and-another-lockdown-looms/answer/Murphy-205?comment_id=216905465&comment_type=2

    If the drunk driver somehow causes a triage situation as a consequence of their action, it very likely that they’re going to be “de-prioritized” by care providers and first responders. Although nobody would acknowledge that as a matter of policy.

    Obese people having heart attacks are unlikely to cause a medical triage scenario to develop on their own, and the medical system has been coping with that type of situation for decades now. In many places it even has actuarial tables and everything on how many of those types of events the hospital should expect on any given day/week/month and an error bar on what the likely extremes are. Likewise for the Drunk Driver triggering a mass casualty event sufficiently large to trigger Triage protocols. This also isn’t to mention that a Drunk Driver mass casualty event is localized and as such hospital capacity in other nearby areas would be able to help share the load in dealing with the inflow of cases.

    AIDS also is extremely unlikely to trigger a triage scenario for a single hospital, never mind an entire region. It was unlikely to do so even in the 1980’s.

    But funny thing also about AIDS… Someone who knowingly spreads it can be subjected to criminal prosecution for having done so in many jurisdictions.

    Covid19 has been demonstrated to be able to create situations which have resulted in mass casualty plans being activated, and has also been demonstrated to take down entire regional medical systems to the point that they have to get creative to “find capacity” for treating patients as it is.

    Covid19 also has been demonstrated to have its health impacts greatly reduced by taking two trips, two weeks apart, to either a pharmacist or your doctor’s office. As such, I’m perfectly content with the suggestion that people who decide (collectively) to cause a mass casualty event by refusing to get vaccinated should be treated accordingly. If they want to help break the medical system by overwhelming it, they can be one of the first people to suffer the consequences of it being overwhelmed—they don’t get treatment if it means somebody else might live..

  4. Isn’t there an EA truism or rule that says “Facebook makes you stupid”? Maybe, “Shut up and treat” would be an appropriate analogy to “Shut up and dribble, or “Shut up and act.”

  5. He should lose all his patients with arrogance like that. If a doctor is that stupid, he would be the last one I would seek out for advice. Does he also refuse to treat people with diabetes, smokers, drug abusers, HIV/AIDS? If he doesn’t, he’s not only stupid, he’s also hypocritical.

  6. “Ethics Dunce”, indeed. You clearly don’t have the first understanding of how medical ethics works. Doctors are not slaves. We have an ethical obligation to provide care to anyone in EMERGENCY situations. We are not obligated to provide routine primary care to people who make choices we don’t approve of. Many doctors do indeed make a choice to not treat drug addicts, gays, fat people, people who don’t pay their bills, or whatever, and –again, with the exception of actual medical emergencies — there is no ethical issue whatsoever with them making that choice. Dr. Valentine has provided all his patients with notice of this policy, and will continue to treat the unvaccinated for a reasonable amount of time while they find a new doctor. Your disapproval appears to be rooted not in any actual understanding of ethics, but in your childish resentment of the idea that people should be held responsible for the choices they make.

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