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Letter: Vaccine-reluctants who proclaim “medical freedom” should expect hospitals to exercise it too

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Protesters waving American flags and holding signs decrying mask and vaccine mandates gathered along the curb of 700 East in Liberty Park Saturday, making Salt Lake City one of dozens of cities around the world protesting public health-related restrictions, Sept. 18, 2021.

“Triage” — the order in which medical conditions are treated — has traditionally been assigned either by the degree of severity of waiting patients’ problems or given first to patients who are mostly likely to survive when medical supplies or staff are critically low. In light of the fact that Utah hospitals are (or may be by the time this is published) at maximum capacity due to all the unvaccinated COVID-19 patients clogging up ERs and ICUs, I propose a new twist on triage.

If space is available to treat the unvaccinated, give them a bed. If not, it must be given to a patient who is vaccinated or has some other condition. The unvaccinated can be treated in large Army tents erected in parking lots where they will be attended by hospital personnel if available or, if not, by volunteers from the internet who profess expertise in treating COVID with hydroxychloroquine, dewormer, prayers or maybe even light therapy or bleach.

After all, many vaccine-reluctants proclaim “medical freedom,” so they should be willing to let hospitals exercise their medical freedom to not treat them when they overwhelm the system. Libertarian thinkers should also be quite accepting of such a merit-based, free-market program.

Jim Catano, Salt Lake City

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