UCHealth in Denver confirmed Tuesday that organ transplant recipients and living donors must be vaccinated against Covid “in almost all situations.” UCHealth said the policy change was driven by the significantly higher mortality rate, as well as the concern that living donors could still pass on a COVID infection after testing negative.
“This is why it is essential that both the recipient and the living donor be vaccinated and take other precautions prior to undergoing transplant surgery,” the statement said. “Surgeries may be postponed until patients take all required precautions in order to give them the best chance at positive outcomes.”
The patient, Leilani Lutali, told 9NEWS she originally found out about the hospital’s policy after her donor, Jaimee Fougner, was asked about her vaccination status during some testing required prior to the procedure.
“She said, ‘Oh, by the way, have you been vaccinated for COVID-19?’ I explained to her that no I hadn’t, and because of my religious beliefs I couldn’t be vaccinated for it,” Fougner said. “And she said ‘well, unfortunately, then that means your journey ends here.’”
About a week later, Lutali got this letter…
UCHealth denies life saving treatment – kidney transplant – to El Paso County resident. See my FB live post @timgeitnercolorado pic.twitter.com/Z2r8D2VY4m
— Tim Geitner (@tgeitner) October 5, 2021