UCHealth backtracks, denies life saving kidney transplant to woman due to vaccination status

Leilani Lutali of Colorado says UCHealth told her 2 months ago that vaccination was not required for her kidney transplant, but then backtracked and denied her the life saving surgery.

“Here I am, willing to be a direct donor to her. It does not affect any other patient on the transplant list,” said Lutali’s donor, Jaimee Fougner. “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?”

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“At the end of August, they confirmed that there was no COVID shot needed at that time,” Lutali told CBS4. “Fast forward to Sept. 28. That’s when I found out. Jamie learned they have this policy around the COVID shot for both the donor and the recipient.”

Lutali shared the letter she received from the hospital with CBS4. The letter informed her that she disqualified herself for a transplant through “non-compliance” and they would remove her from the transplant list entirely if she refused to get vaccinated within 30 days.

Lutali said she chose not to get the vaccine due to the lack of information and studies on long-term effects. Fougner, who is also unvaccinated, said she declined for religious reasons.

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“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 stated regarding the updated Covid-19 vaccination requirement. The health organization added that requiring certain vaccines before surgery is a well-established precedent when needed to protect the health of the patient and mitigate risks during or after surgery. 

Lutali has stage 5 renal failure and is now frantically attempting to find another hospital willing to perform the transplant.

“It’s your choice on what treatment you have. In Leilani’s case, the choice has been taken from her. Her life has now been held hostage because of this mandate,” Fougner said.

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