Another 4 AB Docs sue AHS over COVID vaccine mandates

Graphic by Melanie Risdon/the Western Standard

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF) is working with four Alberta doctors who have filed a statement of claim and an injunction application against Alberta Health Services (AHS) on Friday.

The four doctors who opposed AHS’ COVID-19 vaccination policy are now facing termination, restrictions, and disciplinary action.

AHS has amended the vaccination policies two times in less than two months with the most recent amendment requiring all Alberta healthcare workers to submit proof of vaccination by Monday or face being put on leave without pay unless they work in a “critical site” that is deemed understaffed by AHS.

“In addition to challenging AHS for constitutional violations, the lawsuit advocates for returning to basic medical principles including recognition of natural immunity, doctor-patient privilege, informed consent, personal autonomy, and duty to disclose,” said the JCCF in a release.

All four doctors involved in the lawsuit treated their patients “without incident during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic over the last 20 months.”

“Now AHS is prepared to terminate and discipline them for not complying with AHS’ vaccine mandate in the name of science and medicine,” said the statement.

Dr. Nadr Jomha, a specialized orthopaedic surgeon and one of the claimants, points to a number of studies looking at naturally acquired immunity.

“Given that an overwhelming majority of studies prove that individuals with naturally acquired immunity have: a) been shown to have equal or better immunity than a vaccine-induced immunity; b) are very rarely re-infected with Covid-19, and c) are unlikely to transmit Covid-19, there is no medical or scientific benefit to myself of those around me or anyone around me,” said Jomha in the claim.

Another claimant, Chief of Cardiac Anesthesia at the Alberta Heart Institute Dr. Blaine Achen, who was terminated for choosing not to be vaccinated, is concerned for the province’s healthcare system.

“The medical system in Alberta is struggling,” said Achen in the claim.

“The recent treatment of health care workers in this province, in addition to the current AHS policies and management, is driving physicians out of Alberta and will further exacerbate an already dire situation.

“AHS’ last-minute amendments and extensions to the policy caused confusion and scheduling problems at the hospital, which have negatively impacted AHS staff and patients. My forced departure will invariably cause additional delays in the operating room and will cause harm to patients in Alberta.” 

Dr. Gert Grobler, a Medicine Hat physician who was formerly the personal doctor to the Nelson Mandela family, said in the claim, “Treating and reducing COVID-19 severity ought to be the goal of medical doctors and ought to be part of the strategy used by AHS.”

And the final claimant, Dr. Tyler May, is the only physician overseeing the under-served community of Manning, 73 km north of Peace River.

May was permitted to continue accessing his hospital as it was deemed one of the “critical sites” AHS would permit unvaccinated healthcare workers to continue to staff after their second revision of the AHS’ vaccination policy announced on November 30. However, May is unable to access his clinic.

“AHS’ decision is completely arbitrary and absurd as the facilities are intimately linked, and it provides another example of AHS putting ideology and policy over patient care — much like the [vaccine mandate] itself,” said May in the claim.

The injunction application, set to be heard in court Tuesday, will have the doctors ask the court “not to enforce AHS’ vaccine mandate against them, to trust the science and medicine in respect of natural immunity and to allow the doctors to keep treating their patients.”  

Former Chief Public Health Officer for Manitoba, Dr. Joel Kettner, prepared an expert report to support the claim that includes a review looking at how major public health organizations have compared the protection of natural immunity to vaccinations in those with previous COVID-19 infections.

“I have been unable to find relevant data or clear rationale for policies pertaining to the exclusion of health care workers because of their vaccination status, especially since there has been consistent evidence for equivalent — if not superior — protection by natural immunity resulting from previous infection, as described by the major public health organizations and the Public Health Agency’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization,” said Kettner in his report.

“AHS is prepared to push their vaccine mandate so far as to terminate competent, qualified and caring doctors with natural immunity in order to enforce a vaccine mandate that is unscientific, harmful and arbitrary,” says Eva Chipiuk, Justice Centre staff lawyer.

“It is shocking that these doctors have had to turn to the courts to continue to be allowed to do what they are professionally trained to do — treat patients, including themselves. Especially at a time where AHS has declared the provinces’ hospitals and health care system at risk of collapse and cancelled surgeries due to lack of resources.”

This is the latest lawsuit adding to a number of claims filed against AHS for their vaccination policy, including one filed October 22 by another four Alberta doctors. The earlier statement of claim was filed against AHS President and CEO, Dr. Verna Yiu.

Among concerns the vaccines are “experimental and have not undergone sufficient long-term safety observation,” nor do they provide “full immunity,” the earlier claimants stated they were also opposed to being vaccinated without their “informed consent” and were opposed to disclosing their private health information.

Melanie Risdon is a reporter for the Western Standard

Reporter (Alberta)

Melanie Risdon is an Alberta Reporter for the Western Standard and Alberta Report based in the Calgary Headquarters. She has over 20 years’ experience in media at Global News, Rogers and Corus.

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