A hospital in Boston is blocking a man from receiving a necessary heart transplant because he has not been vaccinated against COVID-19.
David Ferguson told WBZ-TV his 31-year-old son D.J. has “gone to the edge of death to stick to his guns and he’s been pushed to the limit,” revealing Brigham and Women’s Hospital has barred him from receiving the transplant he needs.
D.J., a father of two, was reportedly at the top of the list to receive a heart transplant — until it was discovered he does not have, nor does he intend to receive, a COVID-19 inoculation.
“It’s kind of against his basic principles,” Ferguson explained. “He doesn’t believe in it. It’s a policy they are enforcing and so because he won’t get the shot, they took him off the list of a heart transplant.”
Brigham and Women’s Hospital explained the decision with a statement:
[L]ike many other transplant programs in the United States — the COVID-19 vaccine is one of several vaccines and lifestyle behaviors required for transplant candidates in the Mass General Brigham system in order to create both the best chance for a successful operation and also the patient’s survival after transplantation.
The reason for the requirement is that a transplant patient’s immune system is in a severely weakened state post-surgery.
Dr. Arthur Caplan, head of medical ethics at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine, told the local news outlet that, immediately following any transplant surgery, a patient’s immune system is essentially “shut off.”
As a result, he said, “the flu could kill you, a cold could kill you, COVID could kill you.”
“The organs are scarce,” he continued. “We are not going to distribute them to someone who has a poor chance of living when others who are vaccinated have a better chance post-surgery of surviving.”
Ferguson, who said his son’s heart is severely deteriorated and can no longer operate independently, revealed his son has remained at Brigham Women’s Health but revealed he and his family are “aggressively pursuing all options” to get D.J. the care he needs.
“But we are running out of time,” the desperate father added. “I think my boy is fighting pretty … courageously and he has integrity and principles he really believes in and that makes me respect him all the more.”
D.J. is not the only one who has been denied much-needed care over his personal choice.
Last October, a Colorado woman in need of a kidney transplant was refused the surgery due to her decision to forgo vaccination against COVID-19, a choice she credited to her Christian faith, according to ABC News. It’s worth noting that Christian leaders — both Protestant and Catholic — have argued it is morally acceptable to receive a COVID-19 vaccination.
Leilani Lutali, suffering from stage 5 kidney disease, explained that she could not receive an inoculation against COVID-19 because of the role fetal cell lines have played in the development of some inoculations.
“As a Christian,” the 56-year-old woman explained, “I can’t support anything that has to do with the abortion of babies. … The sanctity of life, for me, is precious.”
Currently, transplant centers in Washington state, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Alabama have policies requiring potential transplant recipients to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
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