Colorado Hospital Denying Transplants to Unvaccinated

Colorado Hospital Denying Transplants to Unvaccinated

( – The controversy over the rights of Americans to choose not to get the COVID-19 vaccine continues to rage. Recently, a decision by a Colorado healthcare system is creating questions about whether or not it’s right to deny an unvaccinated person lifesaving care.

Leilani Lutali desperately needs a kidney to save her life. She has a donor lined up for the transplant and was just months away from receiving surgery to get the new organ. Then, UCHealth announced patients and donors for most transplant surgeries would now have to receive the COVID-19 vaccine before their procedures. That means Lutali, who has stage 5 renal failure, will have to go somewhere else to have the surgery done.

Jaimee Fougner, Lutali’s potential donor, said people should have the right to decide what medical procedures they want to undergo.

In a statement to CBS Denver, UCHealth said, “For transplant patients who contract COVID-19, the mortality rate ranges from 20% to more than 30%.” They claimed that it “shows the extreme risk” the virus poses to transplant patients after they receive their surgery.

UCHealth told Fougner and Lutali they would be removed from the transplant list if they don’t receive the vaccine within 30 days. Lutali said she would sign a waiver, but it doesn’t seem that option is available to her.

Transplant programs across the country are imposing similar rules. Is it ethical for them to condemn these patients to a lifetime of invasive medical treatments and possible death just because they don’t want to receive a vaccine?

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