According to reports, UCHealth in Colorado is denying patients in need of lifesaving procedures if they are unvaccinated.
A Colorado woman with stage 5 renal failure is months away from getting a new kidney, but she and her donor will have to look for another hospital due to UCHealth’s vaccination policy. According to the health system, transplant recipients and their living donors are required to be vaccinated against Covid, and the woman can’t be operated on because neither she nor her donor has received the Covid-19 vaccine.
Leilani Lutali is in end-stage renal failure while the donor is her personal friend Jaimee Fougner. Lutali said that she objects to the vaccine because there are too many unknowns, whilst Fougner is a Christian and has refused the vaccine on religious grounds. She objects to the use of fetal cells in the testing phase of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.
However, Lutali says that she already had Covid and has tested positive for the antibodies, meaning that she has natural immunity.
Despite this, UCHealth said that both Lutali and her donor and “non-compliant by not receiving the Covid-19 vaccine.” The hospital has given the pair 30 days to begin the vaccine series. If they refuse, they will be removed from the kidney transplant list.
In a statement, the hospital said that the Covid-19 virus is especially deadly for recipients of kidney transplants. UCHealth spokesman Dan Weaver said that the mortality rate observed for transplant patients with Covid-19 ranges from about 20 percent to more than 30 percent, which is far higher than the 1.6 percent fatality rate observed in kidney transplant patients in the United States.
The statement also noted that an organ transplant operation can lead to serious complications, and physicians must consider whether or not to recommend it – considering that living donors could also transmit Covid-19 to an organ recipient, threatening their lives.
“I said I’ll sign a medical waiver. I have to sign a waiver anyway for the transplant itself, releasing them from anything that could possibly go wrong,” said Lutali. “It’s surgery, it’s invasive. I sign a waiver for my life. I’m not sure why I can’t sign a waiver for the COVID shot.”
The women have not been able to find a hospital in Colorado that will do the transplant while they are unvaccinated. They’re now reportedly looking at other states.
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