Colorado denied life-saving organ transplants to some patients because they did not receive COVID-19 vaccines yet. Texas announced later that they welcome the unvaccinated patients in the state.
Colorado’s health system UCHealth said that their decision to deny unvaccinated patients of life-saving organ transplants is because transplant patients who contract the virus have a 20 to 30 percent mortality rate.
UCHealth Gives Reason For Refusal
UCHealth told Fox News that the 20 to 30 percent mortality rate in unvaccinated patients eligible for transplant shows the extreme risk that COVID-19 poses to transplant recipients after their surgeries.
UCHealth continued to tell Fox News that patients who underwent organ transplant procedures usually require a lifetime of specialized management to ensure the organ is not rejected. It can even lead to death if no specialized management after surgery is done. UCHealth added that physicians must consider the short- and long-term health risks for transplant patients as they consider if they should indeed get an organ transplant.
UCHealth also said they are not the only health system that puts such policy in place.
Two Patients Came Forward With Their Stories
Dawn McLaughlin, a woman with polycystic kidney disease, shared that UCHealth recently told her she was kicked off the waitlist to receive a transplant. The reason is that she did not get vaccinated against COVID-19 yet. Another woman named Leilani Lutali, who has stage 5 kidney disease, was not approved by her hospital for her kidney transplant surgery. They told her she would only get approval if she had the COVID-19 vaccine.
Denied Patients Welcome In Texas
Texas Governor Greg Abbott told Fox News that in Texas, vaccines remain voluntary and never forced. Thus, those being denied critical and life-saving organ transplants are welcome in Texas even if they are not yet vaccinated. He continued to say that in Texas, one’s rights and freedoms are always protected.
Aside from Abbott, Niklas Organ Donor Awareness Foundation in Grand Prairie, Texas, offers help to people like McLaughlin and Lutali. They will find housing for them while they wait for their scheduled organ transplants in Texas.