Hospital refuses heart transplant for anti-vaxxer 'on edge of death'

·2-min read

A hospital says it will not perform a heart transplant on a 31-year-old man, who is refusing to get the Covid-19 vaccine, despite being on “the edge of death”.

DJ Ferguson, who shares two kids with his pregnant wife, has deteriorating heart failure and was recently bumped to the front of the transplant list, his family said.

However, Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, US, has since broken the news that Mr Ferguson is no longer eligible for the surgery because he will not get the jab.

Despite desperately needing a new heart, the dad is refusing to back down.

DJ Ferguson, who is refusing to get the Covid vaccine, is pictured with his wife and kids.
DJ Ferguson is refusing to get the Covid vaccine, making him ineligable for the heart transplant at the hospital. Source: CBS Boston

"My son has gone to the edge of death to stick to his guns and he’s been pushed to the limit," Mr Ferguson’s father told CBS Boston this week, explaining that his son’s heart no longer works on its own.

"It's kind of against his basic principles — he doesn't really 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 [for] a heart transplant."

His family said the hospital has treated Mr Ferguson well, but they do not agree with its decision.

"It’s his body, it’s his choice," the 31-year-old’s dad said.

Brigham and Women’s Hospital told the publication they are "like many other transplant programs in the United States".

"The Covid-19 vaccine is one of several vaccines and lifestyle behaviours 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."

Mr Ferguson is seen in hospital with tubes and an oxygen mask. Source: CBS Boston
Mr Ferguson has deteriorating heart failure and was recently bumped to the front of the transplant list. Source: CBS Boston

The country’s National Institutes for Health recommends the vaccine for transplant donors and recipients because people with immunocompromised systems are at a higher risk of severe infection and hospitalisation from Covid.

"We have seen that the antibody response to the Covid-19 vaccines among people with recent organ transplants is weaker than that of the general public," Dr Camille Kotton, clinical director of Transplant and Immunocompromised Host Infectious Diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital said.

"That said, we are still seeing a slight response from the vaccines. So, the benefits of vaccination greatly outweigh any potential risks for transplant recipients."

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