AN unvaccinated father was taken off a transplant list despite being on ‘the edge of death,’ according to his family.
DJ Ferguson is a 31-year-old father of two with a third child on the way, the family told Boston CBS affiliate WBZ.
DJ Ferguson (pictured) was taken off a transplant list because he won’t get the Covid vaccine, family saysCredit: CBS
The father of two is on the ‘edge of death,’ according to his dadCredit: Facebook/Heather Dawson
The family is now considering moving DJ (pictured) from the hospitalCredit: Facebook/David Ferguson
DJ has a hereditary heart condition that causes his lungs and heart to fill with blood and fluid, the Daily Mail reported.
His family said he was in line for a heart transplant but his hospital won’t consider the procedure for a patient who refuses the Covid-19 vaccine.
DJ doesn’t believe in the vaccine, his father David Ferguson told WBZ, adding that it is “kind of against his basic principles.”
“My son has gone to the edge of death to stick to his guns and he’s been pushed to the limit,” he told the news station.
Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where DJ is being treated, explained in a statement that the vaccine is one of several requirements for transplant candidates.
“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,” the statement read.
Expert studies have shown that the risk of severe illness from Covid is reduced by 90 percent or more among people who are fully vaccinated.
Doctor Arthur Caplan, head of medical ethics at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, explained to CBS Boston why vaccination is necessary before a transplant.
“Post any transplant — kidney, heart, whatever — your immune system is shut off,” Caplan said.
“The flu could kill you, a cold could kill you, COVID could kill you. The organs are scarce, 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.”
DJ’s family said he’s gotten great care at the hospital but they don’t agree with the vaccination policy.
A GoFundMe for his family said his resistance to the vaccine also has to do with fears of heart inflammation, the New York Post reported.
“It’s his body. It’s his choice,” his father said.
“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.”
The family was aggressively pursuing other options, including transferring him from the hospital, but said they worried that DJ may be too weak to move.
The Daily Mail detailed other instances in which patients were taken off a transplant list because of the Covid vaccine.
Leilani Lutali and her donor were taken off the list at a University of Colorado Health hospital in October because they weren’t vaccinated.
The UCHealth system said at the time that its vaccine policy stemmed from studies showing transplant recipients are more likely to die if they contract Covid.
The mortality rate for transplant patients who contract the virus is more than 20 percent, according to the healthcare system.
“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,” UCHealth told The Post at the time.
Another situation was reported in October, when Ohio man Mike Ganin was denied a kidney transplant because his donor hadn’t gotten the Covid vaccine.
Vaccine effectiveness & Omicron
Expert studies have shown that the risk of severe illness from Covid-19 is reduced by 90 percent or more among people who are fully vaccinated.
While there are breakthrough cases of Covid among people who are vaccinated, they are rare.
In the event of a breakthrough case, victims are highly unlikely to be hospitalized with severe or deadly symptoms from the virus.
Health officials have advised that the Omicron variant is more infectious and could lead to further breakthrough cases.
Yet the spread can be offset by all vaccinated Americans receiving a booster shot.
Current vaccines are expected to protect against severe illness, hospitalizations, and deaths due to infection with the Omicron variant.
With other variants, like Delta, vaccines have remained effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalizations, and death.
Studies have also shown that side effects from the vaccine are extremely rare.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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