Hospital removed sick patients from transplant wait list after they refused to get the COVID vaccine: Report
August 18, 2021
David Ryder/Getty Images
A hospital in Washington state has reportedly removed multiple sick patients from its transplant wait list over their decision not to receive a coronavirus vaccine.
Conservative Seattle radio host Jason Rantz reported Tuesday that the University of Washington Medical Center has kicked "several patients" off its organ transplant list in recent months, citing an unofficial policy requiring transplant recipients to be vaccinated against the pathogen.
One of the patients, Derek Kovick, a 41-year-old man in need of a liver transplant, informed Rantz of the controversial hospital policy last week. Then shortly after, another patient, 64-year-old Sam Allen, came forward with his own story.
Allen, who suffers from a litany of heart-related medical conditions, told the radio host he had been on the hospital's wait list for a heart transplant for more than two years. But in June, after doctors discovered that he was unvaccinated and had no plans to change that, he was informed that he would no longer be in line for the transplant.
He said it all started following a disagreement over mask-wearing at the hospital.
"The cardiologist called me, and we had a discussion, and he informed me that, 'Well, you're going to have to get a vaccination to get a transplant.' And I said, 'Well that's news to me and nobody's ever told me that before.' And he says, 'Yeah, that's our policy,'" Allen recalled.
After he refused, the hospital sent him a letter in June informing him that he had been pulled from the United Network for Organ Sharing wait list for a heart.
"Your name has been removed from the waitlist at the University of Washington Medical Center," the letter read. "This was done in follow-up to your recent conversation with providers regarding the heart transplant selection committee's concerns about compliance with COVID-19-related policies and recommendations."
The letter added that Allen's situation could potentially be reassessed but only if he satisfied their "compliance concerns."
According to Rantz, when he reached out to the UW Medical Center for an explanation, the hospital did not deny the allegations. Officials did, however, reject the notion that an official policy is on the books. But Rantz isn't buying it.
"After emails from several patients [told] the same story of being denied or threatened with denial of treatment over COVID vaccine refusal, it seemed likely that there was a policy," Rantz noted.
Hospital spokesperson Susan Gregg vaguely claimed that "physicians make a determination regarding vaccine recommendations and requirements, including COVID-19 vaccination, based on the risk factors of the individual patient and degree of immunosuppression they will experience."
Allen told Rantz that he has so far refused to get a coronavirus vaccine because the potential side effects might be harmful to him, considering his unique heart condition. Allen reportedly suffers from a range of illnesses, including mitral valve regurgitation, tricuspid valve regurgitation, aortic valve regurgitation, aneurism of thoracic aorta, and dilated cardiomyopathy.
He expressed concerns that the UW Medical Center's policy could ultimately prevent him from receiving a life-saving transplant.
"It absolutely will lead to my death," he said.