(Headline USA) A 31-year-old Boston father was removed from the top of a hospital’s heart transplant list because he does not want to get vaccinated against COVID-19, according to his family.
The family of DJ Ferguson said Brigham and Women’s Hospital deemed him no longer eligible for a transplant and told him all patients who undergo the procedure must get the COVID-19 vaccines.
“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,” Ferguson’s father told CBS Boston this week.
In a statement, the hospital, which is an affiliate of Harvard Medical School, defended its decision to “require several CDC-recommended vaccines, including the COVID-19 vaccine,” due to patients’ immune systems becoming “drastically suppressed.” Any patient that refuses these vaccines “are not active on the waitlist” for transplants, a spokesperson added.
“We do everything we can to ensure that a patient who receives a transplanted organ has the greatest chance of survival,” the spokesperson said.
A GoFundMe for the Ferguson family said he has been hospitalized since Nov. 26, 2021, and that neither he nor his wife have been able to work since then.
“At this point DJ is unable to leave the hospital until he gets the heart surgery he needs,” the family said. “Without the surgery his lungs and heart will continue to fill up with blood and fluid (on top of everything else that’s going on).”
The family said they hope to move Ferguson to a different hospital, but are worried he is too weak to be moved.
“We are aggressively pursing all options, but we are running out of time,” Ferguson’s father said. “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. It’s his body. It’s his choice.”