Boston hospital refuses to perform heart transplant on unvaccinated patient

DJ Ferguson is unable to receive the transplant as he has not had the Covid vaccination. Credit: CNN

A hospital in the Boston area has refused to perform a heart transplant on a patient because he won’t get vaccinated against Covid-19, local media have reported.

DJ Ferguson, 31, was said to be at the front of the line to receive a transplant at Brigham and Women’s Hospital where he is fighting for his life, but hospital policy says that he’s no longer eligible as he hasn’t taken the Covid vaccine.

Speaking to CBS Boston, David Ferguson, DJ’s father, said: “It's kind of against his basic principles — he doesn't believe in it”, adding that he “has gone to the edge of death to stick to his guns and he's been pushed to the limit”.

'He doesn't believe in' the Covid jab, DJ Ferguson's father, David Ferguson, told CBS Boston

In a statement, the hospital said "Like many other transplant programs in the United States - the Covid-19 vaccine is one of several vaccines and lifestyle behaviors required for transplant candidates in the Mass General Brigham system in order to create both the best chance for a successful operation and also the patient's survival after transplantation".

DJ Ferguson’s family have remained by his side and are supporting his choice, but say they are unsure what they plan to do. They were considering transferring him elsewhere, but he may be too weak to be moved.

DJ Ferguson with his family. Credit: CNN

Dr Arthur Caplan, the head of medical ethics at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, explained that being vaccinated is necessary for the type of procedure DJ Ferguson requires.

'Post any transplant ... Covid could kill you', Dr Arthur Caplan told CBS News

"Post any transplant, kidney, heart whatever, your immune system is shut off," Dr Caplan said. "The flu could kill you, a cold could kill you, Covid could kill you.

“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".

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While the family said the father-of-two had received excellent care at the hospital, they don’t agree with its vaccination policy.

"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," David Ferguson said. “It’s his body, it’s his choice”.