COVID-19

Doc’s shocking message to anti-vaxxers

The AMA Victoria president Roderick McRae said those who did not believe Covid-19 existed or was a serious threat should inform their loved ones that they did not want to receive care in the public health system if they became infected with the virus. “A whole lot of these people are passionate disbelievers that the virus even exists,” Dr McRae told Guardian Australia. “They should notify their nearest and dearest and ensure there’s an advanced care directive that says, ‘If I am diagnosed with this disease caused by a virus that I don’t believe exists, I will not disturb the public hospital system, and I’ll let nature run its course’.”Victoria’s lockdown lifted on Friday as the state exceeded the 70 per cent fully vaccinated target.Although the state is still reporting daily case numbers upwards of 2000, high vaccination rates and lower than predicted length of hospital stays means the Victorian government is confident the state’s health system will cope with restrictions lifting earlier than originally planned.But Dr McRae said healthcare workers were exhausted from ongoing Covid-19 outbreaks and the overburdened and understaffed Australian healthcare system that predated the pandemic.“Within the public hospitals, the knees are knocking as restrictions ease,” he said.“The situation is stressed to the point that tents are going up outside of the public hospitals to facilitate the removal of ill patients from ambulances so those ambulances can go and get the next patient.”Dr McRae said it was unfair for Covid deniers to take up time and resources receiving medical treatment from the country’s health profession while simultaneously refusing to listen to their advice on the vaccine.“We’re all juggling everything the best we can to avoid and prevent deaths. We know as we reopen it’s the unvaccinated who are going to get Covid,” he said.“And they are going to get great hospital treatment with many new experimental drugs, even though they think the vaccine is ‘experimental’.”But AMA national president Omar Khorshid hit back hard against Dr McRae’s comments, insisting the AMA’s code of ethics contradicts the Victorian branch president’s statements. “The AMA Code of Ethics guides the behaviour of doctors and is the foundation of AMA policy,” Dr Khorshid wrote on Twitter.“Doctors will always provide care to patients considering their right to make their own decisions, even bad ones like not getting #vacced.”Section 2.1.5 of the AMA code of ethics states doctors must: “Respect the patient’s right to make their own healthcare decisions. This includes the right to accept, or reject, advice regarding treatments and procedures including life-sustaining treatments.”But Dr McRae maintained that individuals still had a responsibility not to overwhelm the healthcare system as restrictions eased across Victoria. “We strongly advise people not to undertake any activity that may lead to inebriation and the requirements for medical care,” he said.“Now is not the time you want to fall over or get injured because the hospitals are full. Don’t get too excited about the horse winning the Melbourne Cup if you’re on the brink of having a cardiac issue. “If you call an ambulance in coming weeks, you may have to wait. There’s no question the hospital will do what they can, but we’re not able to provide the standard of care that we once did because of all of the resource constraints.”

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