Hospital refuses heart transplant to patient who has not received Covid-19 vaccine in the US

Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, United States, did not authorize heart transplant surgery on a patient because, among other reasons, the man had not taken the Covid-19 vaccine.

The father of patient DJ Ferguson, 31, said his son urgently needs a heart but has been taken off the hospital's future transplant list. According to the patient's father, the Covid-19 vaccine goes against Ferguson's basic principles and he "doesn't believe in it".

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In a statement sent to the BBC, Brigham and Women's Hospital said that "given the shortage of available organs, we do everything we can to ensure that a patient who receives a transplanted organ has the best chance of survival."

A spokesperson said the institution requires “the Covid-19 vaccine and certain behaviors and lifestyle for transplant candidates to create the best chance for an operation to be successful and optimize patient survival after transplantation, as your immune system is drastically suppressed.”

The patient has been in the hospital since Nov. 26 for suffering from an inherited heart condition that causes his lungs to fill with blood and fluid. Ferguson has an online fundraiser, and the fundraiser's organizer said the patient is concerned about the possibility of suffering cardiac inflammation, which could be dangerous due to the weakness of his heart, so he didn't get vaccinated.

Covid-19 can attack the heart
Hospital in the US refuses heart transplant to patient who has not received a vaccine against Covid-19. Photo: magicmine/iStock

The effect is predicted by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), but is considered temporary. The organ informs that all transplant recipients and those close to them must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19, including the booster dose.

NYU Grossman School of Medicine's Director of Medical Ethics, Arthur Caplan, said that the immune system of a person undergoing an organ transplant is virtually "turned off" and that a cold can be fatal.

"Organs are scarce, we are not going to distribute them to someone who has little chance of living when other vaccinees are more likely to survive after surgery," Caplan added.

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