top of page

'Disgusting': Hospital System Announces It's Denying Potential Life-Saving Care for the Unvaccinated

Two Colorado women are outraged after a Colorado-based system of hospitals says it will not perform life-saving organ transplants on patients who are not vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Republican state Rep. Tim Geitner called the policy “disgusting,” according to The Washington Post.

Potential donor Jaimee Fougner, who met potential recipient Leilani Lutali at a Bible study group, said the hospital was making a life-and-death decision, according to KCNC-TV.

“Here I am, willing to be a direct donor to her. It does not affect any other patient on the transplant list,” Fougner said. “How can I sit here and allow them to murder my friend when I’ve got a perfectly good kidney and can save her life?”

Lutali shared with KDVR-TV the letter she received from UCHealth.

“The transplant team at University of Colorado Hospital has determined that it is necessary to place you inactive on the waiting list. You will be inactivated on the list for non-compliance by not receiving the COVID vaccine,” the letter said.

“You will have 30 days to begin the vaccination series. If your decision is to refuse COVID vaccination you will be removed from the kidney transplant list.”

Lutali explained her objections were grounded on her faith and her research.

“Both from a religious standpoint, and from doing some reading, I’m not certain that this is the right way to go,” she told KDVR.

“The shot’s relatively new, and as a consumer, I’m not an early adopter; I wait and see what’s going on. I feel like I’m being coerced into not being able to wait and see, and that I have to take the shot if I want this life-saving transplant.”

Fougner also was rejected over her vaccination status.

“When I explained that no, I wouldn’t be able to take the COVID shot, then the comment was, well your journey ends here, because we require all of our donors and recipients to have the COVID-19 vaccine,” she said.

“I’m a strong no on the vaccine, for sure. We’re talking about compromising my morals for her right to have a surgery,” said Fougner, who said her objection is based on religion.

Fougner said the hospital’s decision was unfair.

“It’s your choice on what treatment you have. In Leilani’s case, the choice has been taken from her. Her life has now been held hostage because of this mandate,” Fougner told KCNC.

UCHealth would not discuss specifics, but the system issued a statement saying the unvaccinated are not good bets.

“Patients who have received a transplanted organ are at significant risk from COVID-19. Should they become infected, they are at particularly high risk of severe illness, hospitalization and death. Studies have found transplant patients who contract COVID-19 may have a mortality rate of 20% or higher. A living donor could pass COVID-19 infection on to an organ recipient even if they initially test negative for the disease, putting the patient’s life at risk.

“Surgeries may be postponed until patients take all required precautions in order to give them the best chance at positive outcomes,” the hospital said in a statement, according to KDVR.

Lutali said the hospital changed its tune on the vaccine.

“At the end of August, they confirmed that there was no COVID shot needed at that time,” she told KCNC. “Fast forward to Sept. 28. That’s when I found out. Jaimee learned they have this policy around the COVID shot for both for the donor and the recipient.”

“I said I’ll sign a medical waiver. I have to sign a waiver anyway for the transplant itself, releasing them from anything that could possibly go wrong,” Lutali said. “It’s surgery, it’s invasive. I sign a waiver for my life. I’m not sure why I can’t sign a waiver for the COVID shot.”

The two women now are looking at other states and hospitals where a transplant could be performed.

Geitner said he tried to intervene but was told there is ‘very little’ the hospital would do to accommodate unvaccinated patients, according to The Washington Post.

Author: Jack Davis

bottom of page