Leilani Lutali has stage 5 renal failure. She essentially needs a kidney transplant to survive. Fortunately, she found a matching candidate at her bible study class who is willing to donate her kidney.
However, last week Leilani received a letter from University of Colorado Health, moving her from “go” to “standby”. The reason: Leilani is not vaccinated for Covid-19. She has 30 days to receive the vaccine or she will be removed from the donor list.
Leilani is objecting to the vaccine for both religious reasons (the role that aborted fetuses played in the role of the development of the vaccine) and practical reasons. For example, she already has had Covid-19 and survived. She has natural immunity and science is showing that natural immunity is 17 times more effective than vaccine immunity. Finally, Leilani said, “The shot’s relatively new, and as a consumer, I’m not an early adopter. I wait and see what’s going on. I feel like I’m being coerced into not being able to wait and see and that I have to take the shot if I want this life-saving transplant.”
Pro: The hospital cites early reports show that unvaccinated individuals have up to a 20% mortality rate than those who are vaccinated. Thus, they have a policy to create the highest odds of success in this surgery. They believe they have science on their side and they are just trying to provide the best possible treatment for the best possible outcome.
Con: Leilani believe that she and her doner are making religious objections that are consistent with other dissentions in the past. After all, we have a 1st amendment, which among other freedoms, it gives us rights to religious freedoms. As Leilani says, she is questioning the doctor’s hypocratic oath of do no harm. She said, “I am being coerced into making a decision that I am not comfortable making right now in order to live.” Leilani is attempting to find another hospital that will allow the transplant without the vaccination.
Joe’s Perspective: I try to approach most situations with common sense. First, Leilani will certainly die without a transplant. Second, she has found a donor, who is not through the donor system, but is a friend. This friend is willing to donate her kidney to Leilani and not to anyone else. Thus, no one in the donor system is losing out if Leilani dies after the transplant. Third, both Leilani and her donor understand the risks and are still willing to go forward with the operation. To me, it seems unethical and cruel for medical bureaucrats to stand in the way of this life-saving measure. In fact, it seems counterintuitive. If she doesn’t get the transplant, she will die; if she gets the transplant without the vaccine, she will probably do well; if she is required to get a vaccine that she will not take to increase her chance of survival, but will not take it, she will die. To me, requiring the vaccine seems more punitive than sound medical policy.
I am also a compassionate person. I wish Leilani success in finding another healthcare provider who will handle her transplant. I also hope that she dies from old age at the age of 92.
Your Turn: This is tough situation that requires maturity, thought, and ethical analysis. With that being said, what are your thoughts on this situation?