A woman in Colorado suffering from stage five renal failure was refused to undergo a life-saving kidney transplant unless she is to be vaccinated against COVID-19, CBS Denver reported. According to UCHealth, the vast majority of transplant recipients and living donors must now be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Leilani Lutali and her donor, Jaimee Fougner, received a letter from Colorado’s healthcare system, UCHealth, on September 28 informing them they had 30 days to start the vaccination procedure or be removed from the kidney transplant list. Lutali would be eligible to return to the transplant list after she was fully vaccinated, according to the letter. After learning about UCHealth’s new policy, she and her donor are looking for another hospital.
On Tuesday, Republican state Rep. Tim Geitner of Colorado tweeted a photo of Lutali’s letter, branding the hospital’s decision as disgusting.
They Had 30 Days To Complete The Vaccination Period
The letter stated that the transplant team at the University of Colorado Hospital has judged that it is necessary to place them inactive on the waiting list. If they do not receive the COVID-19 vaccine, they’ll be removed from the list for noncompliance. The vaccination period will take 30 days to complete, and the two will be removed from the waiting list for a kidney transplant if they are to decline the vaccination.
At the end of August, the hospital confirmed there was no COVID-19 shot needed during that time. However, it was only on September 28 when they found out about the policy, Lutali told CBS Denver.
Both women have yet to receive their vaccines. As reported by CBS Denver, Lutali said she had not been vaccinated because there were too many unknowns given her sickness, while Fougner cited religious reasons for not having the shot. Just ten months ago, Leilani Lutali met her donor, Jaimee Fougner, at a Bible study.
Transplant Patients Required COVID-19 Vaccination
Due to federal patient privacy regulations, UCHealth stated it couldn’t provide or confirm any information concerning specific patients in a statement to Insider. It recently established a new policy requiring nearly all transplant recipients and organ donors to receive a COVID-19 vaccination prior to surgery.
The death rate for transplant patients infected with COVID-19 goes from about 20% to more than 30%. This demonstrates the significant risk that COVID-19 presents to transplant recipients following their procedures, UCHealth told Insider.
The women have been unable to locate a Colorado hospital that will perform the transplant while they are still unvaccinated. They have moved on to other states.