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Alabama physician refuses to treat unvaccinated patients: 'I can't watch them die like that'

One Alabama doctor has finally lost his patience with unvaccinated patients — and will now refuse to treat them.

Less than 36 percent of Alabama residents are fully vaccinated, the lowest rate of any state in the country. Physician Jason Valentine, frustrated with those who choose not to get vaccinated, gave his patients an ultimatum, reports The Washington Post. On Facebook last week, Valentine posted a selfie with a sign on his office door that read: "Dr. Valentine will no longer see patients that are not vaccinated against COVID-19." Valentine explains that he "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 ... COVID is a miserable way to die and I can't watch them die like that." Some patients have praised his decision, while others have called him a "bully" who "does not believe in his oath to care for all."

Physicians around the nation share Valentine's frustration. Dr. Michael Anderson, chief medical officer of Virginia Mason Franciscan Health in Tacoma, Washington, told King 5 News earlier this summer that "it's very frustrating for us as clinicians. We know that they had the opportunity to be vaccinated and chose not to be vaccinated for one reason or another. It really does take a greater toll on our staff members as well." Anita Sicar, a physician in Torrance, California, published an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday with the headline: "As a doctor in a COVID unit, I'm running out of compassion for the unvaccinated. Get the shot."

Valentine's decision reflects the critical situation Alabama residents and hospitals face. The state has been reporting around 4,000 new cases a day for the past week. When questioned last month about the state's new wave of infections, Gov. Kay Ivey (R) said "It's time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks, not the regular folks. It's the unvaccinated folks that are letting us down." Read more at The Washington Post.