A Houston doctor has been fired after he used a COVID-19 vaccine on his wife and people with co-morbidities minutes before it became unusable..
The American doctor has since been painted as a “vaccine stealing villain” even though some of the patients he injected were total strangers and most were eligible for the vaccine anyway.
The NewYork Times reported that Dr Hasan Gokal has been fired from his job at a public hospital and a charge of theft was laid against him for not following proper procedure in giving out the vaccine.
The doctor told the publication that on a December evening he only had hours to decide what to do with the remaining vaccine in an opened vial before it became unusable and had to be thrown out. If the doctor had done this, no one would have benefited from the vaccine at all.
incredibly sad + awful. this doctor in Houston, Dr. Hasan Gokal, apparently found as many eligible people as he could to avoid throwing vaccine doses away in December – and has been treated like a criminal. https://t.co/ZrcvHy7HCP
— Sapna Maheshwari (@sapna) February 11, 2021
Why Dr Gokal used the vaccine
As people the world over wait with bated breath to receive the possible life-saving vaccine, Dr Gokal found himself in a dilemma where he had to decide whether to throw out the vaccine or take it upon himself to choose people to receive it.
Dr Gokal said he was instructed to vaccinate eligible people. First health care workers and residents in care facilities, then people over 65 or with a health condition that increases the risk of severe Covid-related illness.
Because each vile contained 10-11 doses Gokal says they were instructed to simply use what was left on people so that it did not go to waste.
In December last year, Dr Gokal says a nurse had just opened a vile to administer the vaccine to one qualifying patient. They had only 6 hours to use the remaining doses and other patients were unlikely to come into the hospital at that point in the evening.
Dr Gokal said he called a public health official in charge of operations to report his plans to find 10 people to receive the remaining doses. He says the response was simply: “Okay”
Dr Gokal told the court he then set out to find people to give the vaccine to.
While charges of “theft” have been dropped against the doctor, he has been fired from his position at the hospital.
Who got the vaccine?
Among the people, Dr Gokal gave the vaccine to is his 80-year-old mother-in-law who suffers from dementia and qualifies for vaccination because of her advanced age.
He also vaccinated two elderly women who sought him out at his home and also qualified for the vaccine, two elderly neighbours with health issues, his mother-in-law’s caregiver, a woman whose child relies on a ventilator, and acquaintance and gave the last dose to his wife who suffers from pulmonary sarcoidosis made her eligible for the vaccine.
In an interview, Gokal says he had no intentions of vaccinating his wife and told her as many minutes before the vaccine would become unusable. “I didn’t intend to give this to you, but in a half-hour, I’m going to have to dump this down the toilet,” he reportedly told his wife.
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