Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston removed DJ Ferguson from their heart transplant list because he’s not vaccinated and so the “patient who receives a transplanted organ has the greatest chance of survival.”
According to Ferguson’s father, the COVID vaccine goes against his son’s “basic principles, he doesn’t believe in it.”
Brigham and Women’s Hospital told the BBC in a statement: “Given the shortage of available organs, we do everything we can to ensure that a patient who receives a transplanted organ has the greatest chance of survival.”
A spokesman said the hospital requires “the Covid-19 vaccine, and lifestyle behaviors for transplant candidates to create both the best chance for a successful operation and to optimize the patient’s survival after transplantation, given that their immune system is drastically suppressed”.
Some reports imply that the statement is worded to imply “other factors” may be a contributing factor for the hospital’s decision, but cited patient privacy when the BBC pressed them on specifics.
Ferguson, 31, has been in hospital since last Thanksgiving weekend, suffering from a hereditary heart issue that causes his lungs to fill with blood and fluid, according to a GoFundMe.
The organizer of the fundraiser said DJ Ferguson is concerned he could experience cardiac inflammation, a rare buy potential side effect from coronavirus vaccinations and that it might prove dangerous given the weakness of his heart.
“He’s had intermittent heart issues, so that’s why he’s always informed himself against vaccines. He also knew that, traditionally, vaccines took years to be approved,” said Tracey Ferguson, DJ’s mother.
David Ferguson says his son has two children with another one on the way.
“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,” said Ferguson of his son.
“It’s his body. It’s his choice.”
“Our Mass General Brigham healthcare system requires several CDC-recommended vaccines, including the COVID-19 vaccine, and lifestyle behaviors for transplant candidates to create both the best chance for a successful operation and to optimize the patient’s survival after transplantation, given that their immune system is drastically suppressed,” the hospital said in a statement.
Some medical professionals are rallying to support the hospital’s decision.
“The organs are scarce, we are not going to distribute them to someone who has a poor chance of living when others who are vaccinated have a better chance post-surgery of surviving,” said Dr Arthur Caplan, head of medical ethics at NYU Grossman School of Medicine to CBS.
“It isn’t just, ‘I don’t want to vaccinate.’ If you’re smoking, drinking or abusing drugs, you’re not flying to the head of the list and many places would just say: ‘No, we’ve got other people who are likely to do better,'” Caplan said.
Earlier this month, a Minnesota woman sued her local hospital after doctors tried to take her unvaccinated husband off the ventilator he had been on for two months.