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‘I can’t watch them die like that’: Alabama doc refuses to treat unvaccinated patients

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A doctor in the state with the country’s lowest COVID-19 vaccination rate said he will soon refuse to treat anyone who is not inoculated against the deadly virus, explaining on Facebook, “COVID is a miserable way to die and I can’t watch them die like that.”

Dr. Jason Valentine, who works in Mobile, Alabama, posted a photo of himself on Facebook next to a sign that read, “effective Oct. 1, 2021, Dr. Valentine will no longer see patients that are not vaccinated against COVID-19,” according to AL.com.

The photo was subsequently deleted from Facebook, and a receptionist at Mobile’s Diagnostic and Medical Clinic Infirmary Health abruptly hung up when The Post called to interview Valentine about the message.

Before the post was deleted, Valentine said that it prompted three unvaccinated patients to inquire about getting a jab, according to the outlet.

“No conspiracy theories, no excuses. Just where do they go?” the doctor reportedly wrote.

Only 36 percent of Alabama’s population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, far less than the national average of 52 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Dr. Valentine claimed that the sign has already caused several patients to get vaccinated.
Dr. Valentine claimed that the sign has already caused several patients to get vaccinated.
Nathan Papes/The Springfield News-Leader via AP, File

Valentine reportedly explained his decision in a letter to patients.

“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,” the letter said, according to the outlet.

Under the Civil Rights Act, doctors can’t deny treatment based on a patient’s age, sex, race, sexual orientation, religion, or national origin, but its unclear if a doctor can refuse to treat a patient over vaccination status.

According to the American Medical Association’s Code of Medical Ethics, physicians are obliged to treat emergencies, but otherwise they are “not ethically required to accept all prospective patients … in certain limited circumstances.”

“In absence of a medical emergency, these limited circumstances include a situation when a patient may pose a threat to the health and wellbeing of the physician, staff, or other patients,” a medical source told The Post.

Dr. Valentine explained his new policy on Facebook writing, "COVID is a miserable way to die and I can’t watch them die like that."
Dr. Valentine explained his new policy on Facebook writing, “COVID is a miserable way to die and I can’t watch them die like that.”
Mary Altaffer/AP

On Tuesday, the entire state of Alabama was out of reportedly ICU beds amid the ratcheting Delta variant crisis.

On Tuesday, there were 1,568 patients who needed ICU beds but only 1,557 ICU beds are available for the entire state, Don Williamson, president of the Alabama Hospital Association, told WFSA.

“This could have been prevented had we gotten vaccination numbers to higher levels.”

A 7-day average of 3,728 new cases in Alabama approached the state’s worst days of the pandemic in the early winter, when that number was just over 4,000, government statistics show.

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