Gone but not forgotten: Garnet Harper’s preventable death will not be in vain

A young father of five has died following a refusal from the London Health Science Centre to refer him for a much needed organ transplant due to his COVID-19 unvaccinated status.

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A needless and senseless death has occurred in Sudbury, Ontario, because of the continued enforcement of COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

35-year-old Garnet Harper, a happily married father of five, died following complications of prolonged dialysis after he was denied a referral for an organ transplant due to his unvaccinated status.

Garnet's untimely death in May of this year, just a few weeks before his 36th birthday, was easily preventable if he had been put on the organ transplant list, something that both of his brothers bravely and readily volunteered to assist with.

Garnet Harper News ArticleGarnet was denied a referral to the London Health Science Centre (LHSC) Multi-Organ Transplant Program via email sent by Peggy Kittmer, a former registered nurse turned Transplant Coordinator for the LHSC whose taxpayer-funded salary came in just shy of $109,000 in 2022.

According to an earlier version of the COVID-19 vaccination information resource for transplant recipients, the “Multi-Organ Transplant Program in London requires at least two doses of an approved COVID-19 vaccine before being listed for transplant.”

It further encourages one to two booster shots. The FAQ reads:

“If you are on the waiting list and have not yet been vaccinated, you will be placed on hold until you can get 2 doses of the vaccine. You should be vaccinated (2 doses) at least one week before your transplant and further doses given after your transplant. It is better to have booster vaccines given before you are given anti-rejection drugs to improve the protection. Exceptions to required vaccination are considered and you should discuss this with your Transplant Doctor.”

“Every recipient is unique and there may be cases where vaccination is not possible. Your transplant team will consider your situation and medical exemptions may be allowed. These exemptions are the same as those that the Ontario Ministry of Health has listed. Other exemptions include recipients who are too sick at this time to be vaccinated and need the transplant immediately. Children do not need to be vaccinated to be listed for transplant.”

London Health Centre Organ Transplant Vaccine Policy

London Health Centre Organ Transplant Vaccine Policy

Why did Kittmer's email denying Garnet’s referral state there were no medical or surgical exemptions to receiving the vaccine?

London Health Science Centre email

London Health Science Centre email

Rebel News contacted Kittmer and media relations at LHSC to ask just that.

Tamara Ugolini London Health Sciences Centre Inquiry

Peggy Kittmer — London Health Sciences Centre

Steve Robinson, Senior Media Relations Consultant, responded that Kittmer had passed along the inquiry and they would respond as soon as possible. After some back and forth with Robinson, a direct response has not been received.

Steve Robinson Response — Media Relations, London Health Science Centre

Instead, it looks like the LHSC was busy behind the scenes changing the verbiage of the FAQ document used to justify Garnet's referral denial as soon as they were faced with media scrutiny.

Rebel News will compare and contrast the updated verbiage in a follow-up report.

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  • By Tamara Ugolini

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