Boston hospital denies heart transplant for unvaccinated patient

Boston-based Brigham and Women's Hospital will not perform a heart transplant on a patient who refuses to get vaccinated against COVID-19, CBS News reported Jan. 25.

DJ Ferguson, 31, was at the front of the line to receive a transplant, but hospital policy deemed him no longer eligible due to his vaccination status. David Ferguson, his father, told CBS Boston, the vaccination "kind of" goes against his son's "basic principles."

"Like many other transplant programs in the United States  —  the COVID-19 vaccine is one of several vaccines and lifestyle behaviors required for transplant candidates in the Mass General Brigham system in order to create both the best chance for a successful operation and also the patient's survival after transplantation," the hospital stated.

Systems across the country began requiring COVID-19 vaccination for organ recipients and donors in October. Arthur Caplan, the head of medical ethics at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, told CBS that vaccinations are necessary for these types of procedures. 

"Post any transplant  —  kidney, heart, whatever  —  your immune system is shut off," Dr. Caplan said. "The flu could kill you, a cold could kill you, COVID could kill you. The organs are scarce. We are not going to distribute them to someone who has a poor chance of living when others who are vaccinated have a better chance postsurgery of surviving."


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