Informed Consent Is Not For Lightweights
Unprincipled power is blind in the matter of its own overreach. It too often exposes our country to the sins of excess, and can even threaten ethical life and take away rights, such as the right to informed consent. There are people of goodwill who want the views of dissenting scientific experts to get a fair public hearing, but they are ridiculed or met with contempt. The Covid lockdowns, and all our time spent in isolation, has given each of us a fertile opportunity to examine what sort of people we are, and what sort of country this has become. But just look around the world. Vaccine hesitancy is common in other countries, and protest has its roots in a reaction against government edicts.
Government with help from the billionaire class, has built the internet and broadcasting infrastructure that seeks social media censorship and even YouTube de-platforming to push back vaccine hesitancy. The repressive class makes news in Canada, where ethics professor, Dr. Julie Ponesse, was dismissed from the University of Western Ontario, for not submitting to an experimental vaccine.
Informed consent is a civilized value. The relationship between a doctor and patient is not a hierarchy. It is a collaboration. The doctor diagnoses a disease, explains the diagnosis and suggests treatment. But there is no compulsion. The patient is free to seek another doctor’s opinion. The doctor swears an oath: “First, do no harm”.
Dr. Ponesse: I’ve had plenty of vaccines in my life, but I’ve never been forced to take one. It’s always been my choice. I don’t work in a high risk environment, I’m not a doctor in an emergency room. I’m a teacher, I’m a university professor. My job is to teach students how to think critically, to ask questions that might expose a false argument: questions like, ”says who?--who is the authority giving this order?--should I trust them with control over my body?”
A person, after all, has the right to consent to a medical treatment or refuse it.
Dr. Ponesse: As a professor I don’t have to watch the news to find out if the Covid vaccines are safe. I read medical journals and I consult my colleagues who are professors of science and medicine. I’ve learned from doctors that there are serious questions about how safe these vaccines really are. There are questions about how well they work.
Some who have adopted the slogan “follow the science” do not really follow science. They do not read the literature. They do not entertain the Minority Report of a group of very distinguished scientists. When new information challenges the received wisdom they change the channel.
The science, the work of open minds, has to be an international effort. Scientists cannot afford to dismiss new information because it casts doubt on theory. So long as politics, corruption, and propaganda impede the scientific process, we will find ourselves in the dark with this virus.
Full Disclosure: this writer has received two shots of the mRNA Pfizer and is not into prolonging the experiment. No boosters, please.
A person inoculated with mRNA can still get Covid and infect others. We weren’t told that before we got the shots. A year ago Fauci assured us that mandated vaccination would never be a thing. President Biden was speaking with a forked tongue recently, when he talked about breaking the Pfizer/Moderna patents and sharing the technology with the world.
Masks began to vanish in Texas schools when the governor reversed the mandate, leading to a predictable surge of Covid cases. However the local school district in Fort Worth was able to get a court injunction against the governor’s mask ban. Masking in these environments will be with us for months to come. There is no way to get through a pandemic without prophylactic measures. And certainly, the Pfizer and Moderna shots curbed lethal cases significantly: the hospital statistics bear this out. But keep in mind that this vaccine technology is experimental in application, and was launched as an emergency measure, without normal testing protocols or approval.
These experimental vaccines may prove to be a double-edged sword; and there are some scientists who worry that the effectiveness of the vaccine declines as the percentage of those vaccinated rises above a certain level. There is also concern that the number of people suffering adverse affects is being under-reported in the VAERS system.
Of course, the interest of Pfizer and Moderna is to reap maximum profits; and American politicians are there to help them. But if one has no say-so or rights concerning what goes into one’s body, what other rights remain? It seems like the ancient philosophy is endangered.
Will the ethics that guided us disappear? Simone Weil wrote, “A doctrine serves no purpose in itself, but it is indispensable to have one, if only to avoid being deceived by false ones.”