A Boston hospital says it won't consider performing a heart transplant on a patient who refuses to get vaccinated against COVID-19, CBS Boston reports.
DJ Ferguson, 31, is fighting for his life at Brigham and Women's Hospital and in desperate need of a heart transplant.
His father, David Ferguson, is speaking out passionately on behalf of his son who, he told CBS Boston, "has gone to the edge of death to stick to his guns and he's been pushed to the limit."
DJ's family says he was at the front of the line to receive a transplant but hospital policy stipulates that he's no longer eligible because he hasn't received the vaccination. And David Ferguson says his son simply won't.
"It's kind of against his basic principles — he doesn't believe in it," David Ferguson says. "It's a policy they are enforcing and so, because he won't get the shot, they took him off the list (for) a heart transplant."
Brigham and Women's released a statement saying, "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."
Dr. Arthur Caplan, the head of medical ethics at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, explains that being vaccinated is necessary for this type of procedure.
"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 is a father of two children with a third child on the way. His family says they're not sure what they plan to do. They're thinking about transferring him, but he may be too weak to be moved.
"We are aggressively pursuing all options, but we are running out of time," David Ferguson said.
And while the family says DJ has received great care from doctors and nurses at Brigham and Women's, they just don't agree with the heart transplant COVID vaccination policy.
"I think my boy is fighting pretty damn courageously and he has integrity and principles he really believes in and that makes me respect him all the more," David Ferguson said.
Which is why the family is sticking by his side and hoping for the best. "It's his body. It's his choice," Ferguson added.
To get an organ transplant you have to meet LOTS of guidelines. For example, no livers for folks with ETOH addiction. IIRC, you have to be not drinking for a set amount time before being considered (used to be six months... I think) . Vaccines etc go right along with this.
COVID is really awful in the immunocompromised patient population. If this young man gets a heart, his immune system WILL be suppressed to keep his body from rejecting the organ. COVID could easily kill him -- and quickly - and a person who takes the vaccine will have a much better time of it than he would. Same for taking the influenza vaccine, or having a good care support structure, etc. Early on, the death rate for organ transplant recipients who caught COVID was frighteningly high.... It has improved with vaccines -- it gives recipients a fighting chance at least.
I'm not a medical care provider - but have worked very closely with transplant programs in the past.
There is ALWAYS a shortage of organs for transplantation. ALWAYS.
I'm not surprised by this at all. My oldest daughter is a nurse and was an anti-vaxxer. Then she got breast cancer and has to take chemo twice a week. It turned her around quickly because she was told they cannot treat her unless she is vaccinated. No vaccine, no chemo.
It makes sense and is the right decision. If he gets the transplant then gets covid and dies, it's a heart that could have saved a life of someone who was doing everything they could to keep living. They won't transplant a heart to a smoker, or anyone else who won't change harmful behaviors.
Why do people think that because they have a choice, they get what they want? No consequence for their choice to be a f-ing idiot because they "did their research" or were "following their principles/morals/ect." It just makes me wonder if doctors dropping babies on their heads as part of the delivery is standard practice.
If he can't follow protocol, tough. He could try and get a pig heart. The guy who got the first pig heart hadn't followed some of the basic heart transplant protocols and fell out of line for a human transfer - not Covid related. Thus, he was able to be a guinea pig and test the procedure.
The hospital is correct but you just KNOW that not "if" he dies but "WHEN" he dies ... because he thinks he KNOWS more than the DOCTORS...the first thing the family will do is RUN TO THE AMBULANCE CHASING LAWYERS...the Hospital will of course win, but it will cost them $Millions in legal fees...smfh...dude made a BAD choice, refusing the vaccine...guess who knows more about Healthcare and Medicine...OOOOPS...some lucky person is going to get a new chance to LIVE. I have NO SYMPATHY any more...ZERO...ZIP...NADA...NOTHING...FUCK EM.
Back in 2011 when I renewed my drivers license I took my name OFF the organ donor list. It isn’t going to go to who really needs it……it’s going to go to the one with the better health insurance. For that reason, I’ll be burned along with the rest of me.
In Australia there was a young woman who did drugs and alcohol and destroyed her liver. She cleaned up her life and was put on the transplant list. She got a liver.
After a few years she went back to taking drugs and drinking.
Her new liver failed.
She cleaned up her act and asked to be put on the lists again.
She was told no.
They refused to budge saying she had already been given the gift of new life and she threw that away and would not be considered for a new liver as she would not need it if she had not gone back to drugs and drinking.
Her parents went to the media to try and make people sympathetic to her. Backfired big time as pretty much everyone said that she had destroyed two livers and only got clean to get on the lists again.
The same goes for this man, why give a much needed organ to someone who does not stand a chance against the viruses out there, has he had a flu vax? Will he follow all of the mask/social distancing. And if he does not trust vaxxes why would he trust the myriad of drugs he will be put on for the rest of his life.
Sorry he is making this decision and his family will have to live with it.
To put it mildly, I say "Fuck Him" his choice, he pays for his choice.
Someone, somewhere DIED for him to RECEIVE their heart and he wants to disrespect, imo, the kindness and decency of that person by REFUSING to be vaccinated and thus wasting such a very precious gift, etc, etc.
And, in addition just for this self-righteous Dickwad, D.I.L.L.I. G.A.F., in other words "roll over anbd die numb-nuts, then the heart can go someone who will TRULY appreciate the greatness of such a GIFT.
As I was reading this I was thinking. "Damn, I bet it is fucking miserable laying in B&W with a bad heart, too weak to be moved to another hospital. I wonder how many more times miserably it would be to be recuperating from a heart transplant and be dying of covid at the same time." I want to say to him " you think you're in pain now, try adding covid to the mix."
Integrity and principles my ass. This should have been prefaced with 'A lack of...' He's so determined, let him become a martyr for his (insane) cause. Good hospitals are finally waking up. The do not harm idea should not mean enabling people's bad and/or stupid behavior.
My sister had a bone marrow transplant at B&W. She had no immunity and although the transplant was successful she died from viral pneumonia. You have no immunity to anything when you are going through a process like that. This guy could also die easily from the flu or even a cold, as the article states. I wonder, are they also requiring him to get the flu vax? I understand why people are skeptical of pharmaceutical companies and the medical industry in general. In my sister's case, from one prospective, the cure was what killed her, not the leukemia. I saw what chemotherapy did to her and I vowed that if I ever was told I needed chemo, I would take a pass. TBH, I am not sure that I would opt for an organ transplant either. My body, my choice, as they say but if I did, I would also have made the decision to follow all the instructions given to me and if that meant getting a vax, I would. Obviously, I have been shot three times (so far).