A woman with stage 5 renal failure who was months away from getting a new kidney, is facing losing her spot on the transplant list for refusing to get vaccinated.
Leilani Lutali shared online a letter she received from the UCHealth Transplant Centre near Denver, which stated she would be removed from the transplant list unless she begins the vaccine process within 30 days.
Jaimee Fougner, who is donating a kidney to Leilani Lutali is also disqualified from donating her kidney despite being a perfect match as she is also unmarinated claiming religious exemptions. The women, who met in a Bible study, didn’t know about the need for vaccines before surgery until last week.
“It’s surgery, it’s invasive. I sign a waiver for my life. I’m not sure why I can’t sign a waiver for the COVID shot,” Leilani said.
The women have not been able to find another Colorado hospital willing to perform the transplant if they are unvaccinated, so they are looking at options in other states.
UCHealth said in a statement that its priority is to “provide excellent, safe care for transplant patients before, during and after a transplant surgery”.
“An organ transplant is a unique surgery that leads to a lifetime of specialised management to ensure an organ is not rejected, which can lead to serious complications, the need for a subsequent transplant surgery, or even death.”
“Physicians must consider the short- and long-term health risks for patients as they consider whether to recommend an organ transplant,” it added.
“In almost all situations, transplant recipients and living donors at UCHealth are now required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in addition to meeting other health requirements and receiving additional vaccinations.”