Sheila Annette Lewis serves AHS with letter demanding her reinstatement to 'high-priority' transplant waitlist

Lewis asked her physicians nearly a year ago to test her blood for COVID antibodies to establish natural immunity, but they refused her request.

Sheila Annette Lewis serves AHS with letter demanding her reinstatement to 'high-priority' transplant waitlist
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The terminally-ill Sheila Annette Lewis, 57, has served Alberta Health Services (AHS) with a letter demanding they, and unnamed transplant physicians from an undisclosed hospital, reinstate her to the high-priority transplant waitlist.

On March 29, Lewis provided her doctors in the Alberta Transplant Program with a privately funded medical report ("Kinexus Report") establishing that she has strong natural immunity to COVID and has overcome previous infections.

On April 3, one of the transplant physicians informed her that despite these test results, which demonstrated natural immunity to COVID, the vaccination requirements to receive an organ transplant would remain. 

In her letter, Lewis also demanded that the physicians accept her now-established and widely-accepted natural immunity to COVID. However, a physician told her that the Kinexus Report concluded that she would need a COVID booster even with natural immunity.

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, which provides Lewis with legal counsel, said the report does not say anything about her needing a COVID booster to maintain natural immunity.

"The transplant program team, AHS, and the hospital ought to accept Lewis's natural immunity to COVID as an alternative to COVID vaccination and reinstate her to the high-priority transplant list immediately," states Allison Pejovic, legal counsel for Lewis.

"The refusal to accept [her] natural immunity as an alternative to COVID vaccination and give her life-saving surgery is indefensible and a disgrace."

Lewis asked her physicians nearly a year ago to test her blood for COVID antibodies to establish natural immunity, but they refused her request. Courtesy of private funding, she had her blood analyzed at Kinexus Bioinformatics Corporation as part of her enrollment in Kinexus' clinical study entitled "Identification of SARS-CoV-2 Viral Protein Epitopes for Antibodies from Recovered COVID-19 Patients, Healthy and Vaccinated Individuals."

The clinical study found that COVID antibody levels remained consistent for at least two years after initial infection for most participants with natural immunity.

"The Kinexus report found that Ms. Lewis's blood sample (1) "clearly supports the presence of SARS-CoV-2 immunoreactivity", (2) shows that she was likely infected with SARS-CoV-2 around mid-September 2021, (3) shows that she was infected with SARS-CoV-2 again more recently and has extremely high levels of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2," reads a Justice Centre statement.

The study received Independent Review Board approval and has monitored over 4,000 COVID patients, including healthy, unvaccinated controls, with its COVID antibody tests. 

Lewis, who is dying of a terminal illness, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, has been challenging the constitutionality of vaccine mandates for transplant candidates that remain in place by AHS, an Alberta hospital, and six transplant doctors for over a year. 

In 2018, Lewis learned she would not survive without an organ transplant.

With the case under a publication ban, the media cannot disclose the names of the doctors, the hospital, the city where the transplant program is located, or the name of the organ Lewis needs for life-saving surgery.

Her initial challenge at the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench and the Alberta Court of Appeal in 2022 proved unsuccessful. Both levels of the court found that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Alberta Bill of Rights does not apply to vaccine policies developed by AHS, the Alberta hospital where she would receive her transplant, and her transplant doctors. 

"No one has a right to receive [CENSORED] transplants, and no one is forced to undergo transplantation surgery," said Justice R. Paul Belzil in his decision last year.

"It is illogical for the applicant to freely accept all other preconditions to transplantation and object to one based on alleged medical coercion," he writes. "The Charter has no application to clinical treatment decisions made by the Treating Physicians."

According to the Justice Centre, Lewis has since applied to the Supreme Court of Canada, asking them to hear her appeal. Canada's highest court has yet to decide whether it would grant that request.

"Lewis has fought against this discriminatory policy not only for herself but for all transplant candidates who are similarly being discriminated against," added Pejovic. "We will review the decision further and consider an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada."

"There is no principled medical or scientific reason to continue to deny Lewis a life-saving organ transplant," she opined. "She is protected from COVID as she has had it twice." 


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