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Covid-19: did an American hospital really refuse a heart transplant to an unvaccinated patient?

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In Boston, the Brigham and Women’s Hospital has been at the heart of a controversy for several days. According to the American continuous news channels, the medical team would refuse a heart transplant to a 31-year-old patient, on the grounds that he is not vaccinated against Covid-19.

In a press release sent to AFP, the hospital explains that its “care system requires several vaccines recommended by the health authorities, including the vaccine against Covid-19”. And to continue: “la vaccination, coupled with a discipline of life, create for the candidate for a transplant the best conditions for a successful operation and optimize the survival of the patient after the transplant, in particular because the immune system is drastically weakened”.

In fact, the doctors continue to take care of this patient, but have removed him from the list of heart transplant recipients.

“The immune system is shut down”

And to add: “The organs are rare, we are not going to distribute them to someone who has little chance of living when others who are vaccinated have a better chance of survival after surgery”.

“It’s his body, his choice”

For his part, the patient’s father testified about CNN and ABC of his son’s fight against death and denounces the fact that he is “pushed to his last entrenchments”. Indeed, the 30-year-old refuses to be vaccinated against Covid-19: “It’s fundamentally against his principles., he doesn’t believe it. It’s his body, his choice,” he confided to CBSBoston.

In 2021, 5,273 transplants were performed in France (about +20% compared to 2020). According to the Biomedicine Agency:

  • When the transplant can be postponed, especially when a kidney transplant or a tissue transplant is involved, the recipient’s risk of becoming infected exceeds the benefit of the transplant; it is therefore recommended to postpone the date after the epidemic peak. It is also recommended to postpone kidney transplants from living donors.
  • When performing the transplant is urgent, that its postponement would constitute a loss of opportunity for the recipient, in particular because it concerns a vital organ (heart, liver, lung, etc.) or that a rare donor has been identified, it is recommended to continue the collection program and transplantation.
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