Doctors at Duke University Hospital in Durham, North Carolina, have refused a teenage girl from Ukraine a kidney transplant because she's not vaccinated against COVID-19, say her adoptive parents.
Lee and Chrissy Hicks, the adoptive parents of 14-year-old Yulia, joined BlazeTV host Allie Beth Stuckey on "Relatable" this week to explain how doctors have refused to move forward with the kidney transplant their daughter desperately needs.
"Chrissy and Lee are Christians. They're an Army family. They adopted Yulia and her brother from Ukraine early last year and love her as their own flesh and blood. And they are begging for help for their daughter," Allie began. "Yulia ... has a genetic kidney disorder. She needs surgery, and the hospital is saying she cannot get this surgery without getting the COVID vaccine."
"The hospital actually played semantics with us," Lee explained. "When we probed them on the requirement to have the vaccine shot, they said it's not a requirement. It's actually a recommendation. But if you don't follow their 'recommendation,' then [Yulia] won't get the kidney transplant. So that makes it a requirement."
The Hickses — who have eight biological children and three adopted children — knew that Yulia suffered from a rare kidney disorder that would eventually require a transplant when they adopted her in 2021.
"We took [Yulia] to Duke immediately because we didn't know how long it had been since she had been seen," Chrissy said. "She needed to go on dialysis basically immediately. Her kidneys, I think, were at 13% function or something when we got her."
Chrissy explained that Yulia started dialysis at home in August 2021 and that most of her care is done at home. She also noted that Yulia has had the coronavirus, which she was "completely, 100% over" in less than 24 hours, but that when she and her husband asked to have their daughter's natural antibody level tested, they were "shut down."
The couple explained that doctors at the hospital dismissed their questions and concerns about the COVID vaccine.
"[Doctors] were almost draconian about the whole thing ... basically, what they said [was] 'if you're not going to follow our recommendation, then you're not gonna get a kidney,'" Lee said.
"This child ... her and her brother have been through so much lately, in the last few years. I mean, a family adopted them in 2018, and that didn't work out. After about a year, they sent the boy back to Ukraine to just go away. And then they sent [Yulia] to Arizona to another family to kind of go away. And then, that family kept her for about four months and sent her back, after they got her brother back, after about a month," he continued.
"So then we got a phone call ... from someone who knew we were close to Raleigh, and they said, 'Hey, can you go pick these two up because they're going to be arriving in about three hours and no one's going to come to get them except for the police.' So, sure, I said absolutely, we'll go get them. And so we did," Lee explained. "We were just going to keep them for the weekend to try to figure out what was going to happen. We rearranged our lives a little bit to kind of help rectify the situation that [the children] were in. Then we, of course, adopted them without hesitation, really, because we just said, 'Hey, this is what God wants us to do.' And now we're at this point of getting a kidney because she needs it, and these doctors are saying no because you won't get this vaccine, which has been known to hurt children."
A GiveSendGo fundraiser has been set up to help Yulia's family with expenses associated with out-of-state medical care and transplant surgery.
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