British Columbia Optometrist Refuses to Treat Unvaccinated Children


Chiliwak’s two mothers talk about the difficulty of getting medical care for their children after a doctor’s refusal

An optometrist in British Columbia refused to treat two young children with severe eye conditions because they had not been vaccinated with COVID-19.

Two mothers, Laura Zimmer and Sandra Scrimes, confirm their child’s vaccination status on January 13, when Dr. Ross Kennedy’s office confirms the vaccination status of the child a few days before the appointment booked a few months ago. When asked, they said they were devastated.

“Given the increasing number of cases of Omicron, we can only see patients vaccinated at the clinic during this period,” read an email from West Coast Vision, Sally, British Columbia.

Scrimes said it was important to see a specialist because his son had lost sight, so both mothers continued scrambling to find a new ophthalmologist for their child. They now say their goal is to shed light on the incident to protect other families and warn other doctors who are considering similar vaccine policies.

A statement According to the College of Physicians and Surgeons (CPSBC) of British Columbia, published last summer, it is considered “ethically undefendable” for doctors to require proof of vaccination before going to the clinic.

The CPSBC, which regulates individual physicians in the state, remains in this policy, and patients concerned about refusal of treatment due to vaccination status should contact the university directly to file a formal complaint. I told the Epoch Times that I needed it.

“Physicians cannot refuse to provide care to unvaccinated patients and must provide accommodation in the clinic to ensure that patients who need direct medical attention can be seen.” The spokesperson wrote in an email.

Zimmer says he has filed a formal complaint with Dr. Kennedy at the university and recently read on social media that his office has removed proof of vaccination policy.

When I repeatedly contacted West Coast Vision to address my mother’s concerns and see if the vaccine policy was lifted, there was an answer at the time of issuance.

“Guts and disappointment”

Ziemer and Scrimes, who live in Chilliwack, an hour away from the clinic, say the test put a lot of stress on their families because of the significant delay in meeting with an ophthalmologist in British Columbia.

Scrimes says this appointment was important to her 9-year-old son. He has a condition called optic nerve hypoplasia, his right eye is legally blind, and his left eye is at risk of further loss of vision.

“I was shocked,” she said. “I thought it was ridiculous considering that I made an appointment in November when her son first noticed that he had lost sight in his left eye and needed to see a specialist right away.”

Scrimes said he contacted West Coast Vision, citing the Charter of Rights and Freedom. She said she told them that if the situation was not resolved, she would pursue further action.

The office called her within an hour and said she could register her son with another doctor, Scrimes said.

Zimmer’s 6-year-old daughter was born with a condition called pediatric strabismus that occurs when the eyes do not meet. She underwent her first surgery at the age of two after she put on her glasses at the age of ten months.

In response to West Coast Vision’s vaccination policy, Zimmer said in an email, “I was angry that I received a call and email early today about the decision to see only double-vaccinated individuals. I was disappointed. “

Zimmer added that her daughter’s health was her priority and she didn’t know how to proceed.

“Covid has put a lot of stress on the healthcare system and the lives of many,” Dr. Kennedy replied to Zimmer by email, but “postponing office visits means a reasonable compromise.” rice field.

Dr. Kennedy added that when the waves of Omicron passed, his office would return to regular visits to help Zimmer find another doctor. Despite the offer, both Ziemer and Scrimes said they had to register their child with an ophthalmologist in the same office.

But they are worried because the new doctor is pregnant, has to take maternity leave by the summer, and has to find a new doctor again.

For Zimmer, Dr. Kennedy could have avoided the entire problem if he provided the patient with a COVID-19 rapid test.

“It’s really really annoying to see our medical system start fraying to the end when children leave the doctor because of the vaccination situation,” Ziemer said.

Zimmer said he would prioritize the health of his daughter, but the high infectivity of the Omicron strain questioned the adequacy of the vaccine policy.

Recently British studies Two doses of Pfizer or AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine have been shown to be 0-20 percent effective in preventing infection against Omicron. Studies also suggest that innate immunity from previous infections provided 19 percent protection against Omicron infections.

Zimmer said the entire family had already recovered from COVID-19 and thought it was incorrect that Dr. Kennedy did not consider innate immunity.

Neither Ziemer nor Scrimes said they were the type to publicly raise concerns, but in this case they felt it was their moral obligation to do so.

“If we can make a difference to a few other kids, we’re very happy because we don’t want to see them struggling to get the care they need,” Scrimes said.

Jared Gnam

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Jared Gnam is a Vancouver-based reporter.