Dying father-of-two removed from top of heart transplant list over vaccination status

Ferguson's family says they are unsure of what they plan to do and are considering transferring him, but he may be too weak to survive the move.

Dying father-of-two removed from top of heart transplant list over vaccination status
AP Photo/Matias Delacroix
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A man badly in need of a heart transplant has been denied his right to be on the donor list due to his refusal to take the COVID vaccine. DJ Ferguson, a 31-year-old father of two, has been stricken from the donor list for a heart transplant by a Boston hospital due to the medical centre’s vaccination requirements for organ transplant recipients.

DJ Ferguson, who suffers from a hereditary heart condition that causes his internal organs to fill with blood and fluid, was taken off the organ transplant list by the Boston Brigham and Women's Hospital, which is a part of Harvard Medical School.

The Daily Mail reports that the hospital claimed it removed Ferguson from the list because transplant recipients are required to take the COVID vaccine to “create both the best chance for successful operation and also the patient’s survival after transplantation.”

Ferguson’s father claims that his son is refusing the vaccine because it is “kind of against his basic principles,” and that “he doesn’t believe in it.”

The hospital defended the move, stating that the COVID vaccine requirement is common at hospitals throughout the United States, which also placed a ban on lifestyle choices such as smoking and drinking alcohol, which can get you knocked off the transplant list.  

“It’s a policy they are enforcing and so because he won’t get the shot, they took him off the list of a heart transplant,” Ferguson’s father David told CBS Boston. “My son has gone to the edge of death to stick to his guns and he’s been pushed to the limit.”

CBS Boston reported:

Dr. Arthur Caplan is Head of Medical Ethics at NYU Grossman School of Medicine. He says being vaccinated is necessary for this type of procedure. “Post any transplant, kidney, heart whatever, your immune system is shut off,” 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 post-surgery of surviving.”

Ferguson currently remains at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital. His family says they are unsure of what they plan to do and are considering transferring him, but he may be too weak to survive the move.

The family says that while the man has received great care from doctors and nurses at the hospital, they do not agree with its COVID vaccination policy.  

“I think my boy is fighting pretty damn courageously and he has integrity and principles he really believes in and that makes me respect him all the more,” said David Ferguson. “It’s his body. It’s his choice.”

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