A woman in need of a kidney transplant was turned away from a Colorado hospital because she was not vaccinated against the China Virus.
Leilani Lutali received a letter from the University of Colorado Hospital telling her that she had been removed from the waiting list for a kidney.
“The transplant team at University of Colorado Hospital has determined that it is necessary to place you inactive on the waiting list. You will be inactivated on the list for non-compliance by not receiving the COVID vaccine. You will have 30 days to begin the vaccination series,” read the letter.
Fox 31 reported that both donors and recipients must be vaccinated.
“If your decision is to refuse COVID vaccination you will be removed from the kidney transplant list,” the hospital stated. “You will continue to accrue waiting time, but you will not receive a kidney offer while listed inactive. Once you complete the COVID vaccination series you will be reactivated on the kidney transplant list pending any other changes in your health condition.”
State Rep. Tim Geitner blasted the hospital’s decision, calling it “disgusting.”
UCHealth denies life saving treatment – kidney transplant – to El Paso County resident. See my FB live post @timgeitnercolorado pic.twitter.com/Z2r8D2VY4m— Tim Geitner (@tgeitner) October 5, 2021
UCHealth released a statement defending its decision to deny life-saving transplants to the unvaccinated.
An organ transplant is a unique surgery that leads to a lifetime of specialized management to ensure an organ is not rejected, which can lead to serious complications, the need for a subsequent transplant surgery, or even death. Physicians must consider the short- and long-term health risks for patients as they consider whether to recommend an organ transplant.
Transplant centers across the nation, including the UCHealth Transplant Center, have specific requirements in place to protect patients both during and after surgery. For example, patients may be required to receive vaccinations including hepatitis B, MMR and others. Patients may also be required to avoid alcohol, stop smoking, or prove they will be able to continue taking their anti-rejection medications long after their transplant surgery. These requirements increase the likelihood that a transplant will be successful and the patient will avoid rejection.
In almost all situations, transplant recipients and living donors at UCHealth are now required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in addition to meeting other health requirements and receiving additional vaccinations. Some U.S. transplant centers already have this requirement in place, and others are making this change in policy now.
Patients who have received a transplanted organ are at significant risk from COVID-19. Should they become infected, they are at particularly high risk of severe illness, hospitalization and death. Studies have found transplant patients who contract COVID-19 may have a mortality rate of 20% or higher. A living donor could pass COVID-19 infection on to an organ recipient even if they initially test negative for the disease, putting the patient’s life at risk.Fox 31