A woman denied a kidney transplant this week because she has not taken a COVID-19 vaccine lashed out at the hospital which made the decision while proclaiming that she doesn’t have long to live without the life-saving operation.
Leilani Lutali, who is in Stage 5 renal failure, told Fox News’ Laura Ingraham, “I believe that my days are numbered as I continue to deteriorate in my GFR numbers.”
Lutali was referring to the glomerular filtration rate, which measures the functionality of kidneys in their ability to filter bodily toxins and waste in the blood. While a measure of 60 or higher is normal, patients with a GFR of 15 or below are classified as being in Stage 5 failure, where kidneys have nearly stopped functioning completely — a condition that leads to fatality.
In late September, the UCHealth transplant center at the University of Colorado’s Anschutz Medical Campus sent a letter to Lutali informing her she was being removed from the transplant list because she hadn’t gotten the vaccine.
(Source: Fox News)
According to a copy of the letter that was posted online, the transplant team at UCHealth “determined that it is necessary to place you on the waiting list,” adding that Lutali was “inactivated” and “on the list for non-compliance by not receiving a COVID vaccine.” The letter advised Lutali had 30 days to begin a COVID vaccine series and if she didn’t comply, she would “be removed from the kidney transplant list.”
UCHealth denies life saving treatment – kidney transplant – to El Paso County resident. See my FB live post @timgeitnercolorado pic.twitter.com/Z2r8D2VY4m
— Tim Geitner (@tgeitner) October 5, 2021
“I did reach out to the hospital to understand whether dialysis was an option,” Lutali told Ingraham. “They said at this point the [vaccine] shot would not be required, but told me I was irresponsible in not getting it.”
A clearly moved Ingraham then turned to Jaimee Fougner, who is donating one of her kidneys to Lutali, to get her reaction to the transplant center’s decision.
“I’m stunned. I’m part of the medical community and I’m just stunned at the lack of compassion, consideration, and involvement of Leilani in her own care,” Fougner — who met Lutali at Bible study less than a year ago — said.
“It’s like they’re holding my kidney hostage and she’s gonna die because they won’t give it to her,” Fougner continued.
“An organ transplant is a unique surgery that leads to a lifetime of specialized management to ensure an organ is not rejected, which can lead to serious complications, the need for a subsequent transplant surgery, or even death,” a hospital spokesperson told the Washington Post earlier this week regarding the decision to remove Lutali from the transplant list. “Physicians must consider the short- and long-term health risks for patients as they consider whether to recommend an organ transplant.”
The spokesperson added that studies show the mortality rate for organ recipients who get COVID-19 ranges from 20 percent to more than 30 percent versus the 1.6 percent mortality rate for the virus in the rest of the population.
“Is there actual science behind that? What if she signs a waiver, if COVID does ‘X’ I won’t sue you,” Ingraham said.
Lutali said she offered several options including signing a waiver, leading Ingraham to conclude that the situation sounds like “a classic case of discrimination.”
Colorado state Rep. Tim Geitner, a Republican, who also appeared on Ingraham’s show, said the situation is happening around his state, explaining that he has been in contact with a father of a 12-year-old daughter on dialysis who has also been denied a transplant because she has yet to get the vaccine.
The host, who said she has been to the state and otherwise likes it, suggested that if the issue was getting an abortion, women’s groups would be lining up to side with Lutali but since it is a kidney transplant and the issue is the COVID vaccine, she is on her own.
“I don’t know if people are smoking too much pot in Colorado, or what’s going on,” Ingraham said.
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