Some of you might recall the 2013 film Elysium starring Matt Damon and Jodie Foster. It is about a ravaged Earth in the future where the poor and medically deprived live, while the wealthy elites and medically protected live on a luxurious space station called Elysium that orbits around it. Max (Damon) is exposed to radiation and given only five days to live. The rest of the movie involves him trying to make it up to Elysium and get his much-needed healthcare.
Hmm, sound familiar? It should. The stuff of shocking dystopian novels and films is now fully upon us. Consider this – a good friend in WA just told me: ‘My dad is scheduled for surgery for cancer in a few weeks. The surgery has now rung my parents and said that he cannot have the surgery unless he has a first dose of the vaccine. Wow. They would just leave him to die of cancer instead.’
Wow indeed. Talk about heartless bastards and health fascists. The fundamental rule of medicine for millennia has always been, ‘First, do no harm.’ Refusing to treat patients because they are making informed health choices is wrong. Making them the subject of unjust discrimination is the height of cruelty and inhumanity.
Our various human rights’ charters make this quite clear. For example, Article 25:1 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights says this: ‘Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.’
And the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights says a similar thing: ‘The States Parties to the present Covenant recognise the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health’ (Article 12:1).
Yet countless individuals are now being denied medical treatment, and are being treated as second-class citizens when it comes to health care. Numerous states and nations are moving this way. Consider this headline from two months ago: ‘Singapore withdraws free health care for Covid patients who are ‘unvaccinated by choice’.
Thankfully, some are resisting these sorts of moves: ‘Australia’s peak doctors body has criticised an ‘unethical’ proposal to charge unvaccinated people for their medical care that is being considered by the New South Wales government.’
This denial of health care is morally repulsive. A few months ago, an opinion piece in the British Medical Journal by law professor John Coggon (also a member of the Bristol Population Health Science Institute, and an honorary member of the UK Faculty of Public Health) appeared.
He asked, ‘Should treatments for Covid be denied to people who have refused to be vaccinated?’ He offers five compelling reasons why we should never head down this path, and then concludes:
‘For any or all of the above reasons, it is not ethically justifiable to institute a policy of medical treatment prioritisation that discriminates between people on the basis of their willingness or otherwise to be vaccinated. Looking to moral judgment of patients would alter basic principles underpinning NHS care, and would wrong those whom it denied access to treatment. It would arbitrarily single out one irresponsible choice. And it would compound social inequities while missing its moral target and placing unfair burdens on healthcare practitioners. It should not feature in resource allocation decisions.’
The man I mentioned above had paid taxes all his life, and he is entitled to get the health care he needs and that he helped to subsidise. But sadly there are far too many stories like this that we learn of every day. It seems in the name of ‘keeping us safe’ and ‘not killing grandma,’ our policies are now such that not everyone will be kept safe, and we will deliberately kill (or let die) grandma and grandpa – and anyone else who does not comply.
Our governments – drunk on power and control – are fully involved in the creation of a two-tiered society where grossly immoral and unjust discrimination takes place at the most crucial of levels: in the access to basic goods and service, to travel, to education, and even to healthcare.
Our leaders are effectively saying, ‘You get the jab or else. Do as we demand or you can just die.’ Never mind the legitimate concerns so many have about the efficacy and safety of Covid vaccines. Never mind the human rights declarations that speak of the vital need for there to be no compulsion in medicine, and the need for full voluntary informed consent.
If hospitals and emergency rooms are not turning away those making irresponsible choices – such as drug addicts and heavy drinkers – it should not be turning away those who in my view are making very responsible choices about things like vaccination.
We now have a new class of lepers and untouchables who are being denied the basics of life – even healthcare. All because they believe in the fundamental human right to decide for themselves what healthcare they will receive. For refusing to have a questionable substance jabbed into their bodies (not just once, or twice, but perhaps in perpetuity), they are now being denied life-saving medical treatment – even for cancer.
In the case of Elysium, we had the evil Delacourt (Foster) forcibly preventing mere earthlings from getting access to healthcare. In Australia’s dystopia, we have McGowan in WA and other premiers doing much the same. We once simply read these books and watched these films for entertainment, knowing they were just works of fiction and science fiction. Little did we know that they in fact would soon become accurate depictions of government policy in Australia and the West.
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