Patients awaiting organ transplants say they were removed from the hospital’s donor list for failing to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Individuals who spoke with The Jason Rantz Show on KTTH told the program that they were removed from the waiting list and told by the University of Washington Medical Center that it was over their refusal to get the jab.
In June, 64-year-old Sam Allen says he was told that a long-awaited heart transplant surgery could not go forward if he did not get vaccinated.
According to KTTH, Allen suffers from “mitral valve regurgitation, tricuspid valve regurgitation, aortic valve regurgitation, aneurism of thoracic aorta, and dilated cardiomyopathy.”
He’s already undergone open-heart surgery, and has been unable to wear a face mask due to blood being pumped into his lungs from his heart due to a leaky valve, which had already caused issues for him with doctors.
“The cardiologist called me and we had a discussion, and he informed me that, ‘well, you’re going to have to get a vaccination to get a transplant.’ And I said, ‘well that’s news to me. And nobody’s ever told me that before.’ And he says, ‘yeah, that’s our policy,’” Allen told the station.
The Jason Rantz Show, however, was unable to confirm with the hospital if this was indeed a policy after several inquiries. It is unclear if the recommendation for vaccination for transplant patients is broad or made on a case-by-case basis.
On June 7, a few days later, Allen received a letter from the UW Medicine and the Cardiac Transplant/Advanced Heart Failure Therapies Selection Committee which informed him he’d been removed from the donor list.
“Your name has been removed from the waitlist at the University of Washington Medical Center. This was done in follow-up to your recent conversation with providers regarding the heart transplant selection committee’s concerns about compliance with COVID-19-related policies and recommendations,” the letter, which he gave the station, read. “We can re-assess you for reinstatement on the waiting list should the compliance concerns resolve in the future or, if you wish, refer you to another center for evaluation in the meantime.”
He replied with his own letter, in which pointed out he has his own medical concerns about the vaccine itself, as a heart patient.
“As a person who has spent much time and money at UWMC as a heart failure patient, I am being told I cannot get care for my condition unless I take an injection that has shown to cause cardiac problems,” he noted in his letter.
In early August, he received a reply that ultimately stated they’d be happy to re-evaluate him, “should you change your mind.”
Liver transplant patient liver transplant patient Derek Kovic had a similar experience with the institution. Yet while hospital spokesperson Susan Gregg told The Jason Rantz Show that they “recommend that all solid-organ transplant candidates be vaccinated against COVID-19,” this appears to have not been the case.
“Our physicians make a determination regarding vaccine recommendations and requirements, including COVID-19 vaccination, based on the risk factors of the individual patient and degree of immunosuppression they will experience,” Gregg replied to a follow-up question from the program.
The radio show asked Gregg as well as Lisa Brandenburg, president of UW Medicine Hospitals & Clinics, a number of pointed questions about unvaccinated transplant patients and hospital policy or procedures, but received no direct answer other than Gregg’s broad statements.
Sadly, for Allen, as it all gets sorted out, he may not have much time left.
“It absolutely will lead to my death,” he told Rantz’s show.
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