A Boston hospital has removed a patient from the front of the transplant list because he refused to get the COVID vaccine.
DJ Ferguson, 31, is in desperate need of a heart transplant at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a Harvard Medical School teaching facility, but due to a new policy, he is now being denied the “life-saving” operation.
“My son has gone to the edge of death to stick to his guns and he’s been pushed to the limit,” David Ferguson, his father, told CBS. “It’s his body. It’s his choice.”
The hospital said in a statement, “And like 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.”
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The mortality rate for transplant recipients who fall ill with COVID is more than 20 percent, according to UCHealth.
Ferguson, a father of two with a third on the way, has been in the hospital since November when his lungs and heart filled with blood and fluid due to a hereditary heart condition, according to a GoFudnMe set up for the family.
His family is weighing all options but worry that he is too weak to be transferred to another hospital as they run out of time.
“At this point DJ is unable to leave the hospital until he gets the heart surgery he needs. Without the surgery his lungs and heart will continue to fill up with blood and fluid (on top of everything else that’s going on),” said Ferguson’s wife, Heather Dawson, on Facebook.