A Colorado-based health system has said it will deny organ transplants to patients who are not vaccinated against the coronavirus in “almost all situations,” citing studies that show these patients are much more likely to die if they get covid-19.
UCHealth’s rules for transplants entered the public eye on Tuesday when Colorado state Rep. Tim Geitner (R) said it denied a kidney transplant to a Colorado Springs woman because she was not vaccinated against the coronavirus. Calling the decision “disgusting” and discriminatory, Geitner shared a letter that he said the patient received last week from UCHealth’s transplant center at the University of Colorado’s Anschutz Medical Campus in the city of Aurora.
The letter said the woman would be “inactivated” on a kidney transplant waiting list and had 30 days to start coronavirus vaccination. If she refused to be vaccinated, it said, she would be removed. Geitner did not identify the patient allegedly denied a transplant, but Leilani Lutali told 9News that it was her and said she is “being coerced into making a decision that is one I’m not comfortable making right now in order to live.”
UCHealth declined to discuss the case because of federal privacy laws. But the health system confirmed Tuesday that nearly all of its transplant recipients and organ donors must get vaccinated against the coronavirus, in addition to other vaccinations and health requirements. A spokesman, Dan Weaver, said that other transplant centers in the United States have similar policies or are transitioning to them.
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: CHILDREN’S COLORADO
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