A doctor in Canada is going viral after posting a video message saying it’s “atrocious” that some healthcare professionals would limit care for patients who aren’t vaccinated.
“I hate it, I think it’s wrong. I think it’s creating mistrust. I think it’s divisive. I think it’s creating more tribalism and it, to me, is the last thing we need,” Dr. Kwadwo Kyeremanteng said in a video posted to his Twitter on Wednesday that has been viewed nearly 150,000 times.
Kyeremanteng is a critical care and palliative care physician at The Ottawa Hospital, who also frequently discusses healthcare on podcasts and other platforms.
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He continued on Twitter that he wants all of his patients to get the vaccine, but noted that “this talk of limiting care for the unvaxxed is wrong.”
“For us to put value judgments on people based on lifestyle decisions, choosing not to get vaccinated … I want you to be vaccinated, but I also don’t want you to smoke. I also don’t want you to use IV drug use, and despite that, when you come into my ICU, I treat you the same,” he said, telling Fox News that he posted the video after seeing negative chatter on social media about the unvaccinated and potentially taxing them and limiting their care.
“We hustle, we do what we can to serve and get you through your illness. And to think that we would do anything less because of your vaccine status is atrocious, it is absolutely atrocious. And it would be extremely shameful to even think that’s a consideration within our society.”
Kyeremanteng told Fox News on Thursday that having honest conversations with people and not “shaming them” can lead to informed decisions on the safety of the vaccines, and that now is the time “to be nice.”
“The whole kind of shaming approach is, that’s never been an effective way. We need to be compassionate, we need to listen to what the concerns are,” he said, and noted that messaging on the vaccine needs to “be more clear and focused.”
His video comes after vaccine mandates in both Canada and the United States have increased in recent weeks.
In Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in August that people would be banned from boarding any plane, train or cruise ship unless they are fully vaccinated. All government employees are also required to get the vaccine, along with airlines and railways employees.
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While in the United States, President Biden announced a vaccine mandate for all businesses that employ more than 100 people or submit to weekly testing. Companies that don’t comply will face fines.
The issue of limiting care for the unvaccinated has already cropped up in the U.S. A South Florida doctor earlier this month became the second physician in the country to announce she will turn away patients who are not vaccinated and criticized them for “lack of selflessness” and putting her staff at risk.
“This is a public health emergency — the health of the public takes priority over the rights of any given individual in this situation,” said Lina Marraccini, a primary care doctor in South Miami, in a letter.
“It appears that there is a lack of selflessness and concern for the burden on the health and well-being of our society from our encounters.”
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Some doctors in Canada have done more of the same, with a doctor in an Enderby walk-in clinic reportedly turning away a 13-year-old boy with a sore wrist last month because he was not vaccinated.
“I was flabbergasted,” the boy’s mom, Kate Stein, told Postmedia News. “The doctor wouldn’t see us. He was only accepting fully vaccinated patients.”
To Kyeremanteng, limiting any care for the unvaccinated is “not why I got into medicine.”
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“We are better than this,” he said in his video.