Father of two, 31, refused heart transplant for being unvaccinated, doctors defend decision

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A Boston hospital is allegedly denying a heart transplant to a COVID-unvaccinated patient whose father says his son is at “the edge of death.”

DJ Ferguson, 31, a father of two (with a third on the way), was supposedly at the head of the line for a new heart until Brigham and Women’s Hospital reportedly deemed him ineligible.

“It’s kind of against his basic principles; he doesn’t believe in it. It’s a policy they are enforcing and so because he won’t get the shot, they took him off the list of a heart transplant,” David Ferguson also told CBS Boston about his son. “It’s his body. It’s his choice,” he added.

Aside from the vaccination policy, the Ferguson family has praised the care that DJ has received at the hospital from doctors and nurses there.

The family is weighing alternative options, such as moving DJ to another healthcare facility that doesn’t require the jab, but they have understandably serious concerns about whether he is strong enough at this point to be relocated.

According to a detailed GoFundMe appeal, DJ has been hospitalized since late November 2021 when his lungs filled up with blood and fluid as a result of a hereditary heart issue and he is now suffering from end-stage heart failure, necessitating the heart transplant.

The fundraiser also claims that the coronavirus vaccine could cause heart inflammation which “in DJs case he can NOT afford for his heart to swell any more than it already is right now. He is at extremely high risk of sudden death if it does. We have had many conversations with the doctors, who confirmed that his heart COULD swell and go into severe crisis but they can’t guarantee anything and it’s a choice we will have to make if he wants to be listed.”

Brigham and Women’s Hospital, which said it can’t comment on specific patients owing to HIPPA requirements, has issued various statements to the media, including one provided to People magazine:

Given the shortage of available organs, we do everything we can to ensure that a patient who receives a transplanted organ has the greatest chance of survival. Our Mass General Brigham healthcare system requires several CDC-recommended vaccines, including the COVID-19 vaccine, and lifestyle behaviors for transplant candidates to create both the best chance for a successful operation and to optimize the patient’s survival after transplantation, given that their immune system is drastically suppressed. Patients are not active on the waitlist without this.”


According to the New York Post, “The hospital denied that a candidate could be ‘first on the list’ for a transplant because there are varying levels of priority for allocation of organs.”

Under current guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the COVID-19 vaccine is recommended for organ donors and recipients.

This scenario is apparently not a one-off. Last fall, for example, BPR reported that a Colorado woman with kidney failure was taken off the transplant list because of her non-vaccinated status.

The reaction on Twitter to what the Ferguson family is going through is mixed. Here is just a brief sample:


Watch a report on this disturbing situation aired by CBS Boston:


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