A 41-year-old Georgia mother of seven young children has been rejected as a candidate for a kidney transplant by Emory Healthcare Inc., even though she's on dialysis and potentially facing death.
The reason? The woman, who has already had COVID-19, refused to receive the COVID-19 vaccine on religious and medical grounds.
The woman, who will be referred to as Jane Doe to protect her privacy, was referred to Atlanta-based Emory by her nephrologist after suddenly developing end-stage kidney disease, according to Liberty Counsel (LC), a national nonprofit legal organization that's assisting Doe.
The seriousness of Doe’s condition necessitates her undergoing dialysis three times per week to keep her alive.
Life or Death DecisionDoe’s hopes were soon dashed when, after another consultation with Emory staffers, a social worker informed her that she couldn't be added to the transplant program’s “active waiting list” until she took the vaccine.
Emory Healthcare is one of 35 percent of the nation’s transplant centers that still require patients to be vaccinated for COVID-19, according to a Liberty Counsel analysis.
That's despite the fact that on April 11, President Joe Biden declared the national emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic to be officially over.
Religious ConvictionsThe nine-page letter alleges that every available COVID-19 vaccine is associated with aborted “fetal cell lines.” It cites evidence from the public health departments of North Dakota and Louisiana as proof.
Doe, a devout Roman Catholic, is opposed to ingesting or being injected with such vaccines based on her religious beliefs.
Standing on Natural ImmunityThe demand letter states that Doe had already recovered from a bout with COVID-19 and that her antibody numbers were actually stronger than those found in many people who were fully vaccinated for 90 days.
“Because of her (Doe’s) acquired natural immunity and documented SARS-CoV-2 antibodies and other factors, (Doe) respectfully requests that the Transplant Team and/or Committee permit her to obtain an exemption from the COVID-19 vaccinations because of the risks associated with vaccinating someone with such a high antibody count,” the letter reads.
LC also stated the legal position that since there are no Food and Drug Administration-approved COVID shots available and all the current vaccines are under Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), Emory can't lawfully condition providing a transplant upon a patient taking a vaccine.
Citing federal law, LC stated in its letter to Emory that all individuals to whom a EUA product is offered must be informed that they have a choice of whether to take it.
A Plea for Mercy“It is unconscionable to deny anyone a religious or medical accommodation from an experimental injection, especially someone who needs an organ transplant," Liberty Counsel founder and Chairman Mat Staver said in the statement. "Emory should be ashamed of its actions and reverse this unreasonable policy.
“Emory needs to do the right action immediately and allow this woman to receive the kidney she needs to save her life.”
On April 24, Emory Healthcare spokesperson Janet Christenbury told The Epoch Times: "We continue to monitor the prevalence of COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses in our community. Based on these assessments, the Emory Transplant Center currently recommends, but does not require, COVID-19 vaccinations for kidney transplant candidates and kidney transplant recipients. Because of patient privacy rules, we cannot comment on specific patient cases."
When asked for its response to Emory's statement, Liberty Counsel's Senior Litigation Coordinator Deborah Catalano said: "We have been told that the transplant coordinator told her (Doe) that she won't get on the kidney waiting list without it (the shot). If the patients cannot move forward with the process because they don't take the COVID vaccine, it's a requirement rather than a recommendation."
Emory Healthcare, an affiliate of Emory University in Atlanta, is one of the leading transplant centers in the South.