Dr. Linda Marraccini South Miami doctor refuses to treat unvaccinated patients. Based policy on science and in a bid to protect other patients and staff.
Dr. Linda Marraccini said the decision was intended to protect her immunocompromised patients, such as those undergoing chemotherapy, and who are at a greater risk of infection. The medic further insists that the policy was based on science and not politics.
The policy goes into effect on September 15, and patients who refuse to get vaccinated, she says, have the option of remote telemedicine treatment or finding another primary care doctor.
The declaration comes amid the state’s worst coronavirus outbreak since the start of the pandemic, driven largely by the spread of the Indian delta variant.
As of the last week in August, 705 new cases were being reported per 100,000 people, and the state was averaging 244 deaths from the virus per day, according to the CDC.
‘I understand that people are free to choose, but to me, it’s a problem when it affects other people,’
Nevertheless, hospitalizations from Covid-19 had dropped over the past two weeks from more than 17,000 to 14,200 come Friday.
‘I understand that people are free to choose, but to me, it’s a problem when it affects other people,’ Marraccini, whose family practice is based in South Miami told NBC6.
She says only about 10 to 15 percent of her patients are hesitant about taking the COVID-19 vaccine, and for those people she said she gave them a month to figure out their plan going forward.
‘When it comes to the safety of others, when it comes to the fact that it’s a global health problem and community health problem, at this point, I really say that this is where it draws the line in the sand for me,’ she told NBC6.
Overall about 53.5 percent of Florida’s total population has been vaccinated.
Additionally, nationwide, the country continues to see a surge in coronavirus cases with a seven-day moving average of 153,000 new cases over the past week, a 4.9 percent increase over the previous week and a cumulative death toll of just over 666K according to worldmeters.
The medic’s stance echoes that of an Alabama doctor who last month caused fissures when he revealed that he would decline treating patients who refused to vaccinate. Commentators on the web questioned whether the doctor was defying ethics by choosing not to vaccinate a patient – in the same way a medic arguing they would choose not to treat a heart risk patient who subsisted on a poor diet.
Not a violation of the Hippocratic Oath
Marraccini insists the policy, which she announced to her patients and a letter she sent last month, is not a violation of the Hippocratic Oath, which is a code of ethics taken by doctors promising to do no harm to patients.
‘The Hippocratic Oath is very science-based. I am following the science. I’m applying this to the benefit of the sick,’ she told Newsweek, noting that the decision was intended to protect the most vulnerable of her patients whom she was fearful could be exposed to the virus at her office.
She also says she is willing to make exceptions for people who are unable to get vaccinated or those who just need prescriptions filled.
‘We’re not going to leave them out there in the cold,’ Marracini told NBC6.
While Marraccini says the decision was motivated by science and not politics, she said individuals had the responsibility to help end the pandemic by getting vaccinated, telling Newsweek that it, ‘did not have to go on this long.’
‘There’s been millions of deaths globally so that’s not something to ignore. People are getting to the point where everybody knows somebody that died from COVID,’ Marraccini told NBC.
Unlikely to receive legal sanctions
‘This is a problem that really everyone needs to help out with, and it’s affecting our collective communal health.’
Her policy, however, may come into conflict with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis‘ ban on vaccine passports, which goes into effect on September 16.
Businesses that ask for proof of vaccination may be fined up to $5,000, but in Marraccini’s case the law may be hard to enforce.
‘I don’t believe you can treat a medical clinic the same way you can a business,’ Attorney Juan Carlos Planas told NBC.
Critically, he said, Marraccini’s medical argument may protect her from legal ramifications.
‘She lays out in a medical way how exactly she wants to protect her staff and she specifically states that no medical professional has found many people who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons,’ Planas said.
It remained unclear if other doctors would also follow Marraccini’s position.