In North Carolina, an unvaccinated man turned down a life-saving kidney transplant because of a hospital policy on vaccinations. Chad Carswell, a double amputee who has undergone major heart surgery, told WSOC he needs dialysis three times a week because his kidneys are only working at 4%. He said doctors at Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist Hospital told him that he needed a kidney transplant in order to survive.
WSOC reported that the hospital said that in order for Carswell and his donor to be able to receive the surgery, the two must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Therefore, Carswell turned down the surgery, telling WSOC: ‘I was born free. I will die free. I’m not changing my mind. I’ve discussed this with my family and everyone close to me. They know where I stand, and there’s no scenario where I’m changing my mind’.
Carswell said he stands by his decision and is looking at other hospitals to see if they will perform the surgery without the vaccination requirement. A spokesperson for the hospital stated in a statement: ‘Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist’s policy follows the current standard of care in the United States, which is to vaccinate all patients on waiting lists or being evaluated for transplant’.
As Dr. Alyssa Burgart, a transplant anesthesiologist and bioethicist at Stanford University previously explained to Insider, transplant patients are at high risk for severe illness if they do not have preexisting immunity prior to transplant. ‘A patient’s ability to fight off a lot of diseases can be compromised. And so for many transplant programs, [vaccination] is seen as a way to protect the patient and the organ’.