In a statement, the Alberta-based Justice Center for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF) blasted the ruling by Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench Justice R. Paul Belzil. JCCF lawyer and legal counsel Allison Pejovic called Belzil's July 12 decision "deeply disappointing." She represented plaintiff Sheila Annette Lewis, 57, who filed a complaint after being informed in March 2021 that unless she got the COVID-19 vaccine, she would be removed from the organ transplant waitlist.
According to Pejovic, Alberta Health Services (AHS) has an obligation to "ensure that doctors that are carrying out their duties within the provincially funded transplant program" are upholding the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (CCRF). "It seems that the court has effectively ruled that AHS can contract out of its [CCRF] obligations," noted the JCCF lawyer.
Lewis, who was diagnosed with a degenerative disease, wrote in her legal affidavit that getting the vaccine "offends [her] conscience."
"I ought to have the choice about what goes into my body, and a lifesaving treatment cannot be denied to me because I chose not to take an experimental treatment for a condition," she noted. The plaintiff also asked the court to uphold her right to conscience, bodily autonomy and freedom to choose without coercion – all protected by the CCRF.
But according to the JCCF, Belzil ruled that the CCRF does not apply to the decision of the organ transplant team funded by AHS. "The proposed AHS policy, which has not been completed, mirrors the recommendations of the treating physicians [who] are exercising clinical judgment," he wrote in his decision. (Related: Canadian judge rules denying organ transplants to unvaxxed patients is legal.)
JCCF wrote in the statement that it will "review the decision and determine whether to file an appeal."
The physicians, and AHS at large, reportedly required organ transplant surgery candidates to get vaccinated against COVID-19 before undergoing the operation. However, the legal advocacy group pointed out that this compulsory vaccination policy for transplant patients was not put in writing. Lewis was only informed of the vaccine mandate through her doctors.
Given this, Pejovic noted that AHS and the plaintiff's physicians "either made the policies, were aware of the policies, or enforced the policies."
To bolster her case, Lewis also filed expert reports from immunologists Drs. Bonnie Mallard and Byram Bridle. Their reports, alongside oral testimonies, "illustrated that the COVID-19 vaccines are still in clinical trials." The two also mentioned that peer-reviewed research and raw scientific data leaned toward skepticism of how "safe and effective" the mRNA vaccines are.
Furthermore, the plaintiff also filed an expert report from surgeon Dr. Benjamin Turner in support of her legal affidavit. Turner, who has a master's degree in health care ethics, testified that the benefit of COVID-19 vaccination for Lewis was so small – that requiring her to get injected with the vaccine before undergoing the organ transplant was "unethical."
Belzil nevertheless "declined to address the scientific and ethical arguments advanced" as he determined that the CCRF "did not apply to the treating physicians."
The Alberta justice noted that while the patient was indeed the sole arbiter of what she puts into her own body, no one has an inherent right to an organ transplant.
“The proposition that treating physicians exercising clinical judgment would be subject to the Charter would result in medical chaos, with patients seeking endless judicial review of clinical treatment decisions.”
Visit MedicalFascism.news for more stories about unvaccinated organ transplant candidates being discriminated upon.
Watch this NBC report about an unvaccinated man in Boston being denied a heart transplant.
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