An Ohio woman who refused the Covid-19 vaccine was refused a liver transplant unless she agreed to be vaccinated.
Michelle Vitullo, 65, suffers from end-stage liver disease and was due to receive a transplant from her daughter Angela Green at the Cleveland Clinic this month.
But on Wednesday, Cleveland-based WJW TV news channel reported that her surgery was abruptly called off after months of preparation because she and her daughter refused the vaccine.
The family say they oppose the Covid-19 vaccines for religious reasons and because they have heard reports of adverse reactions.
“It was a dream come true,” Ms. Green told WJW. “My family was so excited… then we found out that we had been taken off the list and couldn’t do it without vaccination, and it was heartbreaking.”
Ms Vitullo’s husband Jim said, “They made us sign an agreement that we would live within an hour of the Cleveland Clinic. I had to quit my job because of all the sightseeing, ended up sleeping literally hundreds of days in my car in the carport there because of the expense.
Ms Vitullo now hopes to find another hospital willing to perform the life-saving surgery.
A spokeswoman for the Cleveland Clinic confirmed that it is demanding that donors and organ recipients be vaccinated against Covid-19 “for the safety of both,” but declined to discuss Ms Vitullo’s case, citing the patient privacy.
She said the clinic had not taken anyone off the transplant waiting list yet because they weren’t vaccinated. Patients awaiting organs from deceased donors have until November 1 to receive the vaccine.
Hospitals across the United States began refusing vaccine refusals this year after the American Society of Transplantation and the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation recommended that all transplant patients be vaccinated.
A Colorado woman who said the vaccine was against her reborn Christian beliefs was told she couldn’t get a kidney transplant. Last Friday, another Cleveland clinic with anti-vaccine beliefs had its operation called off.
Transplant recipients typically take drugs that suppress their immune system to prevent them from rejecting the new organ, making them extremely vulnerable to the coronavirus.
The Cleveland Clinic said, “Living donation for organ transplantation has been a life-saving treatment, but it is not without risks. For the living donor, it is crucial to reduce the risk of Covid-19 infection during surgery and recovery.
“For the transplant candidate, in addition to a major operation, medications taken after an organ transplant weaken a person’s immune response.
“Serious complications from Covid-19 are more likely to develop in people with weakened immune systems because their bodies have a reduced ability to fight and recover from infections. “
The Independent Gt