Is there a law or a judgment from a Court in the United States wherein it is established that a government (at any level) in the US, during an officially declared public health crisis, can enforce administration of a drug/medical treatment onto a US citizen who has been declared by a public health authority (PHA) to be medically ill/sick?
I've come to know that a State government can make vaccination mandatory1. That said, I've also learned that in cases concerning mandatory vaccination4 of persons of certain age groups, some state governments provide exemptions on certain grounds, such as medical, religious and philosophical2.
However, in my proposed example case, the drug in question, let us call it DRUG, is not a vaccine at all. Instead, DRUG is a drug which has induced swift recovery in some of the sick patients. Assume that information is not available in public domain as to whether the aforesaid recovered patients were able to give informed consent with regard to the treatment they received or not. Neither can a Jack or Joe contact those patients for the lack of their contact details available on account of protecting their privacy.
Points to be noted:
The available data from hospitals and PHA suggests that no known medical treatment or DRUG is so far universally effective on patients -- varied age-groups (some having co-morbidity too).
Varying amount of information on other treatments/drugs already tested on patients or been researched/explored is available in the public domain, therefore, a citizen can attempt to make an opinion based on the available data.
There may be a dearth of data released from PHA (whether deliberately done or not is not proven yet) on the number of patients administered with the DRUG who either fell more sick or died, but PHA is providing the statistics on those who did recover.
Some probable reasons behind the data release could be:
- PHA might be biased in the favor of DRUG (for whatsoever reason - genuine or otherwise).
Another reason could be: PHA's accountability is sought by political leaders, and the latter - under public pressure - might be pushing PHA to push forward with the DRUG. Like many political issues, this is subjective and open to speculation.
Suggestion: consider historical data and analyses of earlier epidemics with similar medical treatment related issues, so as to make a reasonable assumption on why PHA is doing what it is doing.
Note: to be clear here, I'm not trying to establish that PHA is a bad actor. But during crises, a lot of folks, whether acting as or for the authorities, want the crises to end as quickly as possible, sometimes by sidelining or deliberately encroaching the fundamental rights of the citizens. Hence, skepticism towards PHA's actions is justified from a citizen's point of view.
There is emerging evidence, in the form of patient/medical staff testimonies and/or medical literature, that DRUG cause some serious side effects. Whether this happens with every patient or not is not clear yet.
Armed with the information (as given in points 1,2,and 3), some veteran medical professionals using medical literature and statistical data available from PHA and hospitals have called into question the efficacy of DRUG.
Despite the evidences (from points 3 and 4) already at the disposal of PHA, it has argued to their respective government that further delay in administering the DRUG upon the sick patients can severely harm the community's health and prosperity, and that the whole of the community should not be held as a hostage by those who are resisting the administration of DRUG, irrespective of them being patients.
Information tsunami from hundreds of print media and electronic media outlets, and from dozens of social media sites has made it near impossible for a lot of citizens to accept as well as discard information, especially when "sponsored content as news" has become the norm for many such outlets and sites.
The citizens concerned are capable of informed decision making. I'm not concerned with the process and information a citizen would use to reach a decision.
Intertwined questions I'm looking to be answered:
- What hard legal facts (such as a law or the effects of its application discussed in a judgment) are available to a US citizen so as to make a reasonable assumption on whether their own elected government can forcefully (against their will) administer a drug/medical treatment onto them if they are declared sick and are deemed a threat to public health?
- If step1 is positive, it would mean informed consent to medical treatment3 is no longer sought. However, does the law/judgment allows information about the treatment be made available to the patient, whether voluntarily or mandatory?
I'm only interested in a law (Act, Rules, Regulations, etc.) or a judgment from a Court of the US. Everything else, no matter how obvious it is, is a personal opinion which I'm not looking for.
the question is not specifically about the ongoing health crisis in the US as of May 2020.