A man who is willing to save his life with a kidney transplant is not willing to get the COVID-19 vaccine to guard his health after the operation – rendering himself ineligible for an organ.
Chad Carswell has had COVID-19 twice and recovered, and even though medical experts say immunity against the disease is stronger with a vaccine, he has steadfastly refused to get the shot, claiming he doesn’t need it, he told WSOC-TV.
The doctors say otherwise, and officials at Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, will not grant him the double amputee a new kidney without the jab.
“He said, ‘The last thing we need to talk about is your vaccination status,’ ” Carswell told WSOC of the conversation he had with a doctor. “And that’s when I politely told him there was nothing really to talk about it, it wasn’t up for debate [and] that I wasn’t getting it. Then, he told me, ‘You know you’ll die, if you don’t get it.’ And I said, ‘I’m willing to die.’ ”
Carswell has also undergone numerous major heart surgeries, WSOC said. He is on dialysis three times weekly, with a kidney functioning at just 4%.
He has turned down offers of kidneys from willing donors and has spoken to his family and others close to him about his decision.
“I was born free. I will die free,” he said. “I’m not changing my mind.”
His story comes on the heels of that of a Boston-area man who is refusing to get vaccinated and thus can’t get a new heart.
The immune-suppressant drugs people must take post-transplant to prevent organ rejection make patients more susceptible to infections, including COVID. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines lay that out among the vaccines necessary before a transplant.
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