A US hospital has rejected a patient for a heart transplant because he is not vaccinated against Covid-19.
DJ Ferguson, 31, is in need of a new heart, but Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston took him off their list.
David Ferguson told CBS 4 his son D.J. was removed from his place on the transplant line at Brigham and Women’s Hospital because he will not get vaccinated against COVID-19.
“It’s kind of against his basic principles; he doesn’t believe in it. It’s a policy they are enforcing and so because he won’t get the shot, they took him off the list of a heart transplant,” David Ferguson told the outlet.
The hospital said it was following policy.
Brigham and Women’s Hospital told the BBC in a statement: “Given the shortage of available organs, we do everything we can to ensure that a patient who receives a transplanted organ has the greatest chance of survival.”
A spokesman said the hospital requires “the Covid-19 vaccine, and lifestyle behaviours for transplant candidates to create both the best chance for a successful operation and to optimise the patient’s survival after transplantation, given that their immune system is drastically suppressed”.
The hospital stated on its website that transplant candidates “must also receive the seasonal influenza and hepatitis B vaccines, follow other healthy behaviors, and demonstrate they can commit to taking the required medications” following the procedure.
A Brigham and Women’s Hospital spokesperson reiterated the hospital’s policy to the New York Post, saying it does everything it can “to ensure that a patient who receives a transplanted organ has the greatest chance of survival.”
“Our Mass General Brigham healthcare system requires several CDC-recommended vaccines, including the COVID-19 vaccine, and lifestyle behaviors for transplant candidates to create both the best chance for a successful operation and to optimize the patient’s survival after transplantation, given that their immune system is drastically suppressed,” the spokesperson said.
“Patients are not active on the waitlist without this,” they added.
DJ Ferguson’s family do not agree with the vaccine policy and are “aggressively pursuing all options.”
“I think my boy is fighting pretty damn courageously and he has integrity and principles he really believes in and that makes me respect him all the more,” David Ferguson said of his son.
The decision by the Boston hospital has led to a debate, with people sharing their opinions for or against.