A Colorado woman who says the UCHealth system denied her organ transplant because she is not vaccinated against COVID-19 says that her “days are numbered.”
Earlier this week, the Colorado health system confirmed it will deny organ transplants for unvaccinated patients in “almost all situations.”
What are the details?
The woman, Leilani Lutali, told Fox News‘ Laura Ingraham on Thursday that she has stage 5 renal failure.
“I believe that my days are numbered as I continue to deteriorate in my GFR numbers,” she said.
Lutali, who appeared alongside donor Jamiee Fougner, added that she reached out to the health system, which that she was “irresponsible in not getting” the COVID-19 vaccine.
Fougner added, “How can I sit here and allow them to murder my friend when I’ve got a perfectly good kidney and can save her life?”
The two met during a Bible study group over the past year. Fougner offered one of her kidneys to Lutali after the two developed a close friendship.
“They’re holding my kidney hostage and she’s going to die because they won’t give it to her.”
Fox reported that the health system released a statement on the announcement which read, “For transplant patients who contract COVID-19, the mortality rate ranges from about 20% to more than 30%. This shows the extreme risk that COVID-19 poses to transplant recipients after their surgeries.”
UCHealth previously added, “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. Surgeries may be postponed until patients take all required precautions in order to give them the best chance at positive outcomes.”
In its letter to Lutali, the health system said:
The transplant team at University of Colorado Hospital has determined that it is necessary to place you inactive on the waiting list. You will be inactivated on the list for non-compliance by not receiving the COVID vaccine. You will have 30 days to begin the vaccination series. If your decision is to refuse COVID vaccination you will be removed from the kidney transplant list. You will continue to accrue waiting time, but you will not receive a kidney offer while listed inactive. Once you complete the COVID vaccination series you will be reactivated on the kidney transplant list pending any other changes in your health condition.
Ingraham pointed out that she believes the case is a “classic” example of “discrimination.”