A 31-year-old severely ill father from Boston has been removed has been denied a heart transplant because he is refusing to get the Covid-19 vaccine. DJ Ferguson is in dire need of a heart transplant but the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston has removed him from the heart transplant list, his father David Ferguson said.
David Ferguson told CBS Boston that his son DJ is fighting to stay alive at Brigham and Women's Hospital as he has refused to take the vaccine. He said the Covid vaccine goes against his son's "basic principles, he doesn't believe in it". The hospital said it was following policy.
DJ Ferguson, who has a hereditary heart condition that causes his lungs and heart to fill with blood and fluid, was denied the life-saving organ transplant by Boston Brigham and Women's Hospital, a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School. The hospital said that taking the vaccine is a must for all transplant patients in order to "create both the best chance for successful operation and also the patient's survival after transplantation."
The clash of ideologies and policies has put DJ Ferguson's life at stake. While the patient's family says that taking the Covid-19 vaccine is against his principle, the hospital said that it is abiding b its rules and policies.
According to his family, Ferguson was first in the list to receive the heart transplant at the hospital but now no longer features in the list because of his vaccine status, according to CBS Boston. "It's kind of against his basic principles, he doesn't believe in it. It's a policy they are enforcing and so because he won't get the shot, they took him off the list of a heart transplant," David told the outlet.
However, it is not known why DJ Ferguson is against getting vaccinated. "I think my boy is fighting pretty damn courageously and he has integrity and principles he really believes in and that makes me respect him all the more... It's his body. It's his choice," David said.
"My son has gone to the edge of death to stick to his guns and he's been pushed to the limit," he added.
Hospital Sticking to Policies
Ferguson has two children and is expecting a third with his partner Heather, according to a GoFundMe page set up for him. His family is now confused about how to get Ferguson treated.
Brigham and Women's Hospital said research had shown transplant recipients were at a much higher risk of dying from Covid compared to non-transplant patients. "We do everything we can to ensure that a patient who receives a transplanted organ has the greatest chance of survival," a spokesperson told the New York Post.
The hospital said that it is just abiding by its policies. The hospital, which has a list of protocols for transplant candidates that includes a ban on lifestyle choices like smoking and alcohol, said requiring the Covid vaccine is common at many medical centers throughout the country.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommends that immunocompromised people, which includes organ transplant recipients, be vaccinated because they are especially vulnerable to Covid.
However, the hospital denied that a candidate could be "first on the list" for a transplant because there are varying levels of priority for allocation of organs.
The mortality rate for transplant recipients who fall ill with Covid is more than 20 percent, according to UCHealth.