Unvaccinated Denied Organ Transplants

Refusniks are creating an ethical dilemma for the triage system.

As noted in my previous post, hospitals are starting to deny organ transplants to those who refuse to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and I’m torn on the ethics of the policy.


A Colorado-based health system says it is denying organ transplants to patients not vaccinated against the coronavirus in “almost all situations,” citing studies that show these patients are much more likely to die if they get covid-19.

UCHealth’s rules for transplants entered the spotlight Tuesday when Colorado state Rep. Tim Geitner (R) said it denied a kidney transplant to a Colorado Springs woman because she was not vaccinated against the coronavirus. Calling the decision “disgusting” and discriminatory, Geitner shared a letter that he said the patient received last week from UCHealth’s transplant center at the University of Colorado’s Anschutz Medical Campus in the city of Aurora.

The letter said the woman would be “inactivated” on a kidney transplant waiting list and had 30 days to start coronavirus vaccination. If she refused to be vaccinated, it said, she would be removed.

Geitner did not identify the patient allegedly denied a transplant, but Leilani Lutali told 9News that it was her and said she is “being coerced into making a decision that is one I’m not comfortable making right now in order to live.”

UCHealth declined to discuss particular patients because of federal privacy laws. But the health system confirmed Tuesday that nearly all of its transplant recipients and organ donors must get vaccinated against the coronavirus, in addition to other vaccinations and health requirements. A spokesman, Dan Weaver, said that other transplant centers in the United States have similar policies or are transitioning to them.

I’m legitimately torn on this one. Transplant organs are in very limited supply and therefore have to be allocated deliberately. It makes good sense to prioritize those who are most likely to survive the operation and go on to live a healthy life.

Conditions on organ transplants are not new. Weaver noted that transplant centers around the country may require patients to get other vaccinations, stop smoking, avoid alcohol or demonstrate that they will take crucial medications in an effort to ensure that people do well post-surgery and do not “reject” organs for which there is fierce competition.

More than 100,000 people are on the transplant waiting list, and only a fraction of those seeking a kidney got one in 2020, according to the federal government. An estimated 17 people die every day waiting for an organ.

I’m not qualified to judge whether Lutani’s risk profile is higher than vaccinated people with other comorbidities that are being allowed to remain on the list. But that’s not what’s at stake here. The donor (who is also unvaccinated) is a living person who has specifically chosen Lutali. If she doesn’t get it, she’ll likely die, and the donor will simply keep the kidney. The only precious resource at stake here, then, is space at the hospital and the surgical team’s time.

Still,

Multiples studies show that covid-19 is especially deadly for recipients of kidney transplants. Weaver said the mortality rate observed for transplant patients who develop covid-19 ranges from about 20 percent to more than 30 percent — far higher than the 1.6 percent fatality rate observed generally in the United States.

“An organ transplant is a unique surgery that leads to a lifetime of specialized management to ensure an organ is not rejected, which can lead to serious complications, the need for a subsequent transplant surgery, or even death,” Weaver wrote in an email. “Physicians must consider the short- and long-term health risks for patients as they consider whether to recommend an organ transplant.”

Lutani and the donor claim a religious objection to the vaccination, citing the use of fetal stem cells in the development. I have very little sympathy for that nonsense but they have the right to believe it. And, again, she’s not asking for a kidney that would otherwise be available.

Interestingly, the triage system sometimes works in the other direction:

As covid-19 cases stretch medical resources, being vaccinated can also count against patients in some cases. Faced with a recent federal push to conserve monoclonal antibodies, a highly effective covid-19 treatment, some officials have urged health-care providers to give them first to people who are unvaccinated.

Putting the unvaccinated first can “rub people the wrong way,” Karen Bloch, medical director of the antibody infusion clinic at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, told The Post last month.

But the reality is clear, she said: Those without shots are far more likely to die of covid-19.

The whole thing is nuts. Roughly a third of American adults are refusing to get a life-saving vaccine, mostly because they’ve been brainwashed by their political leadership, pastors, or preferred media sources. It puts them and the rest of us at greater risk. But denying them organs from living donors strikes me as vindictive rather than medically-driven.

FILED UNDER: COVID-19, Health, Society
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. SKI says:

    But denying them organs from living donors strikes me as vindictive rather than medically-driven.

    ???

    Article cites only medical reasons for the decision stated by physicians.

    Aligns with other medical decisions already in place for transplants.

    James, in his gut, thinks that it is driven by non medical reasons despite no evidence for that.

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  2. James Joyner says:

    @SKI:

    James, in his gut, thinks that it is driven by non medical reasons despite no evidence for that

    Because none of the proffered medical reasons apply in a case of a living kidney donor who is willing to donate to a given patient. It she were taking an organ from a cadaver, then someone higher on the priority list could get it instead. That’s harsh but the reality of limited supply. Here, the supply-demand fit is 1-1.

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  3. SKI says:

    @James Joyner: first, that isn’t true. A bunch of them relate to the anticipated resource drain *after* transplant.

    Second, that’s not how it works. You either qualify for a transplant or you don’t. Source comes into it later. Same rules for other lifestyle aspects and overall health status for transplants.

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  4. MarkedMan says:

    Look at it this way. There is a potential transplant recipient who is refusing to follow the medical advice the care team is recommending.

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  5. Scott F. says:

    Considering the massive drain on hospitals and healthcare professionals due to COVID, these two considerations same like very, big deals: “ The only precious resource at stake here, then, is space at the hospital and the surgical team’s time.” plus “An organ transplant is a unique surgery that leads to a lifetime of specialized management to ensure an organ is not rejected…”

    Any religious freedom the donor and donee have to be stupid stops at the demand on the medical resources. Thoughts and prayers can save her.

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  6. Jen says:

    Regardless of the issue of whether the donor is a living one, the recipient will have to go on anti-rejection drugs. These suppress the immune system. She’ll be at an *even higher* risk for catching covid, and due to the transplant wouldn’t survive.

    Bottom line: this kidney transplant won’t save her life, even if she receives it, if she continues to refuse to be vaccinated.

    Get. Vaccinated.

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  7. Scott says:

    Lutani and the donor claim a religious objection to the vaccination

    These religious exemption arguments and/or “sincerely held religious beliefs” are going to have to be dealt with. At some point, a court will go and say “I’m sorry, but that is not a valid religious argument” or “This court does not believe that is a sincerely held religious belief”.

    Setting up these vague exceptions is just begging for adjudication. That is when all hell will break out in this country.

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  8. Crusty Dem says:

    @Scott:

    None of these people really want a religious exemption – no one is being held down and vaccinated against their will – they want an exemption from responsibility for their decision. They want to avoid vaccination while experiencing no repercussions from that action, independent of existing law or public health or general sanity.

    My take: if God doesn’t want you vaccinated, He/She also doesn’t want you to get that new kidney, or work in a hospital or on an airline, or go out to eat in a restaurant. Deal with it.

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  9. MarkedMan says:

    @Scott:

    At some point, a court will go and say “I’m sorry, but that is not a valid religious argument” or “This court does not believe that is a sincerely held religious belief”.

    I wish this were true but our Republican Supreme Court holds extremist and absolutist religious views. Not just Amy Coney Barret, who is literally a member of a secretive Catholic cult who refuses to reveal the beliefs, rituals and practices of the group, but other Republicans have shown an absolute deference to anything a plaintiff wants to label their religion – as long it is Christian.

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  10. MarkedMan says:

    For anyone interested in Barrett’s cult.

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  11. wr says:

    “I refuse to be vaccinated because I don’t want something foreign put into my body, and I am outraged that this is interfering with my right to have another person’s kidney put into my body, followed by a lifetime of putting anti-rejection drugs into my body.”

    I think it’s actually less the stupidity that bothers me than the raging sense of entitlement. “I want absolutely everything I want and I want it right now and I won’t accept the slightest compromise in order to get it.”

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  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Lutani and the donor claim a religious objection to the vaccination, citing the use of fetal stem cells in the development. I have very little sympathy for that nonsense but they have the right to believe it. And, again, she’s not asking for a kidney that would otherwise be available.

    She could go get the J&J shot and be in full compliance with the directive. She chooses not to. She’s made her choice. I’m OK with that.

    She needs to quit the whining, and get on with the dying.

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  13. mattbernius says:

    @wr:
    My only regret is that I have but one thumbs-up to give this spot-on comment.

    The only thing I can add is that this to some degree feels like the same tension that’s at the heart of the Gay Wedding Cakes…. to what degree do people have a “right” to service. I also think this is an example where folks’ positions may switch depending on which side of the given issue they fall on.

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  14. Sleeping Dog says:

    Whether the kidney is or isn’t available if it is denied to Lutani for refusal to be vaccinated is irrelevant to the triage decision. The likelihood of the transplants success is the first determination that matters. Last week in Alaska, a vaccinated, heart patient was denied an ICU bed, with the bed going to a Covid patient, because docs determined that the Covid patient had a better chance of living than the heart patient. Who subsequently died. Medical triage is hard, because someone is likely to die.

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  15. Jen says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: The J&J vaccine also used fetal stem cells in the development of the vaccine. In fact, the J&J vaccine was the one that some Catholic church leadership singled out.

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  16. KM says:

    If she doesn’t get it, she’ll likely die, and the donor will simply keep the kidney

    But denying them organs from living donors strikes me as vindictive rather than medically-driven.

    I posted on this last night’s open thread. She’s is actively defying medical advice meant to keep severely immunocompromised people alive for no reason other than “belief”. This isn’t punishment but protection – COVID doesn’t give a damn about what you think, only that you’re a ripe target and a waste of an organ by getting sick almost immediately. What is the point of going through an arduous process, wasting time and resources if the patient is extremely likely to get infected with a disease that will kill them in short order? If she doesn’t get it from the hospital, she’ll need to be in strict isolation for months to be safe…. and she won’t be as someone with this kind of thinking isn’t going to do the smart thing. It may be her choice to refuse the vaccine but this is consequences of it. No one is going to put in time and effort to watch the patient die in a week from an easily preventable outcome. The irony that the bed she would have needed will likely be filled with another anti-vaxxer soaking up resources needlessly is just icing on the cake.

    Not only that, her “belief” is a total, easily disprovable lie that has no basis in anything other than “I don’t want to do it” and likely to be political/social in nature rather then actually religious. Political beliefs have ZERO place in medical care and demanding to be special because you fell for internet lies is not the same as a religious objection. Legitimate religious objections are “I don’t want to kill as my religion commands so I’m not going to war”, not “I think this nonsense I just was told in a non-religious context by a stranger online so alter everything just for me”. That’s called entitlement, not faith. If her faith is so important to her she’d risk rejection and infection with a deadly virus, she should trust the Lord will heal her of her afflictions for being so faithful as to reject Satan’s offer to inoculate her from the disease and thus qualify for the organ. She’s trusting He’ll keep her from COVID (if she doesn’t call it a hoax) but he won’t keep her alive for expressing that trust in the face of death? Hmmmm, there’s a word for this – on the tip of my tongue, something like my-tar? Shouldn’t that be a *good* thing for the faithful, to die for their beliefs in the face of temptation? Funny how it doesn’t seem to be something she’s interested in…..

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  17. CSK says:

    @Jen:
    But the vaccine itself doesn’t contain any fetal cells. Laboratory-replicated fetal cell lines are used in production. They’re splitting some very, very fine hairs here.

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  18. Mistermix says:

    This woman’s deeply felt religious objection almost certainly means that she can’t get an organ transplant because many other drugs that she would be administered were the products of research using fetal cells. This is an obvious point that needs to be made any time that some narcissist who wants a medical procedure on their own terms whines to the press.

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  19. Jen says:

    @CSK: Oh, I know. It just sounded to me like the suggestion Ozark was making was that J&J was an “all-clear” from that perspective, which is not accurate.

    This is precisely why Pope Francis made his statement about vaccination–some American Bishops were being idiots about this.

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  20. CSK says:

    @Jen:
    Indeed. But the idiots–as you astutely call them–are promoting the idea that J&J is purchasing fetal body parts from Planned Parenthood to brew up the vaccine. In any event, Roman Catholics appear among the most willing to get vaxxed.

    I’m still shaking my head over Ken Wyler’s claim that the vax contains tentacled creatures.

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  21. KM says:

    @Scott:
    They *WANT* a state-sanctioned religion and think this is the best way to get it. It never occurs to them it won’t be their version however. There’s a good reason we have 1A – once the state starts saying “this is the correct belief, not that”, we’re all in for a world of trouble. “Fundie” isn’t a denomination and “internet-based personal opinion” isn’t a choice either. What does “Christian” means and if Baptist vs Methodist comes in to play, what’s the real “Christian” belief legally? What happens when it’s a personal or folk belief dressed up in Christianity’s clothes but has no official doctrine to back it when another denomination challenges it; a liberal sect can call out anti-gay actions as decommissioned Old Testament BS conflicting with Christ’s overriding command to Love Thy Neighbor as religious discrimination against them. Who wins?

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  22. Cheryl Rofer says:

    I want to amplify what Jen said, because it’s central to the argument and appears nowhere in James’s post.

    Organ transplantation requires lifelong immunosuppression, because otherwise the body would kill the transplanted organ. We are in the middle of a pandemic of a deadly disease. Being immunosuppressed means that a person is extra susceptible to that disease and is likely to do poorly if they contract it.

    The logic is not “muh freedum” but rather whether the person is likely to survive. There’s a medical ethics issue of making a person MORE susceptible to a pandemic when they won’t cooperate for the best outcome.

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  23. steve says:

    This is a tough one. First, if she doesnt get the transplant right now she can just stay on dialysis. This isnt some acute problem in all likelihood. (I dont know the particulars but that is generally the case with kidney transplant pts, with some exceptions, and wait times are usually in years.) We really do set limits on whom we will transplant and if you are not healthy enough, which can include smoking , substance abuse and alcohol, you might not qualify.

    The complicating factor as you point out is the 1:1 supply issue. However, there are 2 primary reasons for a transplant. You live longer, on average, and convenience, no dialysis. If you get covid it negates the life extending effect and since a large percentage of pts with covid have kidney function affected it likely means you end up back on dialysis. So is it ethical to do a procedure that might actually shorten someone’s life and might not even achieve the convenience goal? (I dont mean to minimize the convenience goal. Dialysis does suck.) We dont generally require docs to do procedures that go against their conscience. If a doc doesnt believe in abortions we dont make them participate. If they dont want to take care of Jehovah’s Witnesses we do our best to avoid that happening.

    Finally, two things. We do try to be good stewards of resources. Spending lots of time and money that could go elsewhere, its not just the kidney, for a possible future procedure has problems. We dont generally do that. In fact we actively monitor our docs, especially surgeons, to make sure people are not doing heroic procedures. Second, we are still in a pandemic. Is it right to transplant her and potentially take up an ICU bed for a long time (if she dies it will likely be after a long, expensive ICU stay) and maybe deprive someone else?

    I would come down on the side of not doing it right now. Once we are sure we are past the pandemic and the surge of ICU need I might reconsider. As a practical matter I am betting she goes somewhere else and has it done. Some for profit, Christian hospital will do it.

    Steve

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  24. gVOR08 says:

    You may be torn on the ethics, James. I’m pissed off that this utterly routine medical situation is a news story.

    What @wr: said. She wants a medical team to do their utmost for her, but she won’t unbend a little to follow their advice.

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  25. KM says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:
    I had a family member barely a year out from a transplant living with us when the pandemic hit. It was *madness* trying to keep them isolated and unexposed, especially as we have nurses in the family who worked with COVID patients. The sheer amount of work it takes to keep an immunosuppressed person safe his last year or so is eye-opening and that was someone who was considered stable. A fresh transplant patient, unvaxxed and likely in an anti-vaxxer household/support system in a high infection area already demonstrating a refusal to follow post-transplant care and logic? Dead in a month – I’d be shocked if she made it to 3. The odds are simply not in her favor.

    How ethical can it be to put her in that state? How ethical can it be to spend all that time and effort to save her when it could go to another anti-vaxxer without transplant issues and thus more likely to survive? By any logic, her choice of not getting vaxxed is rendering her the poorer survival choice and forcing medical staff to make an ethical choice to refuse her care.

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  26. EddieInCA says:

    Not a hard decision for me.

    No vax. No transplant. Sorry. Not hard at all.

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  27. jehrler says:

    The other side of the coin is also at play. The donor will now be down a kidney and have some surgical recovery treatment. So it is not true that the donor has no potential costs to the system if the kidney at issue is not available for others. The actual donation has costs that need to be evaluated as part of the overall cost/benefit of the specific transplant and its efficacy.

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  28. Sleeping Dog says:

    @jehrler:

    My reading of the situation is that the donor has selected the recipient, but the kidney hasn’t been removed. Therefore no costs have accrued to the donor.

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  29. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jen: I know it. I was thinking along the lines of the one shot procedure as opposed to 2 shots for “full vaccination”. She’s full of shit on the whole “fetal cell” crap unless she has cut out the tylenol, tums, etc too. And if she has, than she should live and die with those consequences too.

    It’s all her choice: Get the vaccine and live on the one hand, or… Die. If that’s what she wants, I’m not going to get in her way.

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  30. wr says:

    @mattbernius: “The only thing I can add is that this to some degree feels like the same tension that’s at the heart of the Gay Wedding Cakes…. to what degree do people have a “right” to service”

    Except that, for me, this conflates two very different things — one is denying service unless and until the requester makes a small accommodation which anyone can do at any time, thus treating all people equally, and the other is denying service based on an immutable fact of the requester’s life… which is bigotry.

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  31. wr says:

    @steve: “I dont mean to minimize the convenience goal. ”

    There should be another word for a convenience that is actually life-altering. In English we would say both that having a Starbucks right around the corner and avoiding dialysis because of a new kidney are both “convenient,” but they don’t really describe the same concept.

    I thought about using “they” in place of “convenience,” but I’m concerned that might be confusing…

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  32. EddieInCA says:

    @wr:

    I see what you did there. Well played, sir.

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  33. steve says:

    wr- I wasn’t sure how to convey that so I hope I made it clear. It is also often described as an improvement in lifestyle but that doesn’t capture it either. Its what you do to stay alive but its pretty miserable and often with lots of complications that end up with many hospital visits.

    Steve

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  34. Monala says:

    Along these lines, anti-vaxxers have taken to calling themselves “pure-blooded,” and claiming (not sure whether anyone has actually tried this in real life) that they would refuse any blood transfusions from “impure” vaccinated donors (as if that were possible).

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  35. CSK says:

    @Monala:
    Pure-blooded???? Sounds rather Hitler-like, doesn’t it?

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  36. jehrler says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Understand, but if the kidney is removed and given to an unvaccinated person, then the risks/costs that the donor would have should be part of the calculus as to if the donee is a good candidate. This is particularly true since the donor is also unvaccinated and kidney issues with COVID are real and having only 1 kidney probably puts the donor, and the system as a whole, at higher risk of needing followup care.

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  37. Gustopher says:

    If she wants to be a martyr, let her.

    I’m not sure why she thinks the aborted fetuses from decades ago would not want their tragic deaths to lead to something good, like life-saving medications, but perhaps she knows the partially-developed brains of unborn children better than I do. They might have been spiteful fetuses.

    Anyway, I’m sure there is a large animal veterinarian who will be happy to help her, since she already has a kidney donor. They might even throw in a complimentary tube of Ivermectin.

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  38. Monala says:

    @CSK: yup. Here’s Laura Loomer comparing “the vaccinated and the pure bloods.”

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  39. wr says:

    @steve: I knew exactly what you meant and communicated as well as the English language allows. I can only assume the Germans have a word for “that which alleviates a harm that is not necessarily life-threatening but seriously degrades the experience of living.” We need one too!

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  40. wr says:

    @CSK: “Pure-blooded???? Sounds rather Hitler-like, doesn’t it?”

    Yes, but these people are too stupid for history, so they’re getting it from Harry Potter. And again, so stupid that they don’t realize the ones they’re emulating were the bad guys.

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  41. wr says:

    @Gustopher: “They might have been spiteful fetuses”

    I eagerly await deStijl telling us that Spiteful Fetuses is his favorite band!

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  42. Scott says:

    @Monala: Then I’m going to start calling myself a Mudblood.

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  43. Sleeping Dog says:

    @jehrler:

    Ok, as far as an unvaxxed donor being at a higher risk of Covid and the vax status of the recipient wouldn’t change that. But the vax status of the recipient does effect the probability that the transplant will be successful and that evaluation is what is driving the denial.

    Conceivably, the medical team could reject the donor’s offer, because that would add a significant risk factor to their living an expected lifespan.

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  44. Kathy says:

    The concept of purity has little meaning outside chemistry/biochemistry, where it is of great relevance.

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  45. Mu Yixiao says:

    @wr:

    I eagerly await deStijl telling us that Spiteful Fetuses is his favorite band!

    Personally, I find them over-hyped and derivative of Fetal Cell Line.

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  46. Erik says:

    @Kathy: I know that you know this, but unfortunately the concept of purity is super important to the authoritarians/christian theocrats, so this is a line of propaganda that we ignore/laugh at at our peril. Kind of like how we assume that if they understood the connection with Hitler they would tone it down. Nope. The connection to dictatorship is favorable in their minds

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  47. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mu Yixiao: Well turned sir, well turned indeed.

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  48. Mikey says:

    @wr:

    I think it’s actually less the stupidity that bothers me than the raging sense of entitlement. “I want absolutely everything I want and I want it right now and I won’t accept the slightest compromise in order to get it.”

    It’s of a piece with their overall assertion of “my rights!” while denying any connection to the attendant responsibilities.

    Seriously, sometimes it seems like we’re dealing with toddlers in adult bodies.

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  49. de stijl says:

    @wr:

    I hate them now ever since they became popular.

    Actual band name – Scraping Foetus Off The Wheel

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  50. Mikey says:

    @de stijl:

    Actual band name – Scraping Foetus Off The Wheel

    There’s also Dying Fetus.

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  51. Mu Yixiao says:

    @de stijl:

    Actual band name – Scraping Foetus Off The Wheel

    I’ve heard them (fer realz!). Pretty good stuff as far as punk goes.

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  52. CSK says:

    @Monala: @wr:
    I despair.

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  53. Shocked I am says:

    “The women haven’t been able to find a hospital in Colorado that will do the transplant while they’re unvaccinated. They’re now looking at other states.”

    Get vaccinated or we will LET YOU DIE?

    Her reason is a fact of life, a personal issue. None of anybody’s business! You save a life.
    The number of people agreeing with letting her die because of their own beliefs is disturbing.

    Dr Joyner, thank you for reporting on this.

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  54. @Sleeping Dog:

    Whether the kidney is or isn’t available if it is denied to Lutani for refusal to be vaccinated is irrelevant to the triage decision.

    But the point of the triage decision is to distribute the scare resource “kidneys” (or livers, or hearts, or…); and, in this case, there is no problem of distribution of kidneys – the kidney only can go to that person.

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  55. Gustopher says:

    @Miguel Madeira: @Miguel Madeira:

    But the point of the triage decision is to distribute the scare resource “kidneys” (or livers, or hearts, or…); and, in this case, there is no problem of distribution of kidneys – the kidney only can go to that person.

    I think we have to ask ourselves what the kidney would want. The current kidney holder has opinions, but are we sure that they are really looking after the best interests of the kidney and not just projecting their own desires on the kidney.

    I think the kidney wants to be free. And maybe go to art school for about half a semester, leave when failing out, and then bum around Europe for a few months trying to find themself. I don’t know about that last part, I might just be projecting my desires on the kidney.

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  56. Gustopher says:

    @mattbernius:

    The only thing I can add is that this to some degree feels like the same tension that’s at the heart of the Gay Wedding Cakes…. to what degree do people have a “right” to service. I also think this is an example where folks’ positions may switch depending on which side of the given issue they fall on.

    I see no reason that the hospital system has to involve itself in a religious kidney transplant procedure that it finds objectionable.

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  57. mattbernius says:

    @Miguel Madeira:

    But the point of the triage decision is to distribute the scare resource “kidneys” (or livers, or hearts, or…); and, in this case, there is no problem of distribution of kidneys – the kidney only can go to that person.

    And that is a factor that makes kidney donations unique among most organs.

    Or, @HL alert, are you legally able to bequeath organs to only specific people for transplant?

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  58. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    I wonder if Rep. Geitner would feel the same way if Lutali’s receipt of the organ meant that his child would not be getting it? Come to think of it, no, I don’t wonder that at all.

    My take: if God doesn’t want you vaccinated, He/She also doesn’t want you to get that new kidney, or work in a hospital or on an airline, or go out to eat in a restaurant. Deal with it.

    A theologically sound position!

    One final thought in passing. To this day, I am amazed that alcoholic Mickey Mantle got a liver transplant when that liver could have been given to someone worth saving and had a life ahead of him or her.

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  59. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @jehrler: Wait… a person not vaccinated against a disease where one of the potential complications is kidney problems is being considered as a kidney donor to another unvaccinated person? This is just dysfunctional. Stop it! Right now! I’m not kidding. Go to your rooms and think about what you’re doing!

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  60. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Monala: I’m mostly curious about who the guy playing Glaucon to her Plato is. Anybody know?

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  61. Mu Yixiao says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Well turned sir, well turned indeed.

    That was off-the-cuff, and not half as good as it could have been. Let’s try it again. 🙂

    Old School “Fetal Stem Line” Inspires Hot New “C-Vaxx”

    Nobody outside a few niche critics has even heard of the upstart “Spiteful Fetuses”. And even for those who have, it’s blatantly obvious that they’re simply copying the later work of the Fetal Stem Line–and doing so in a genre-locked “produce what’s expected” way as opposed to the astounding “we don’t know what we’ll become” repertoire of the Fetal Stem Line.

    I mean… C’mon! FSL has kept things fresh and innovative for decades. You never know what they’re going to produce next. And that has only served to boost their popularity. Who would have thought that some left-overs from the 80’s would have influenced the industry in such profound and ground-breaking ways?

    Critics, of course, do abound. But if you pay attention, you’ll see that they’re buying releases directly inspired by FSL, and humming pop and genre tunes that are just cover variations on what FSL has been doing all these years.

    That history has found new life in C-Vaxx–an amazing new approach to a classic we all love. Pulling on the foundation of FSL, but using “new tech” gear, C-Vaxx is breaking ground and taking the world by storm. They’re fresh, they’re relevant, they have demographics that blow the mind!

    There are, of course, the “tabloid conspiracies”–but we won’t dignify those with a response (or even a comical rebuttal). Obviously the writers are out-sourced hacks. No sex, no jilted lovers, no shocking revelations from the 80’s. Hell… they can’t even come up with a connection to aliens or lizard people! Magnetic skin and 5G chips? Who’s going to believe that?

    To put an even more progressive spin on things, C-Vaxx is releasing world-wide and region-unlocked. And, in a move not seen since the Grateful Dead’s concert days–or Radio Head’s In Rainbows album for you young’uns–they’re giving it away for free in the hope that it goes viral.

    C-Vaxx are a real shot in the arm in these dark times, and I don’t think it’s going too far to say that their influence in the industry will see us through this crisis, activate our collective core, and create a stronger community because of it.

    I can’t wait to see what they put out next.

    (okay… that was way too much fun)

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  62. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Miguel Madeira:

    But the point of the triage decision is to distribute the scare resource “kidneys” (or livers, or hearts, or…); and, in this case, there is no problem of distribution of kidneys – the kidney only can go to that person.</blockquote?

    No.

    Triage is the "action of sorting things according to quality"–from the French: trier ‘separate out’

    The point of triage is to determine where the resources will do the most good. Every single person who enters an ER undergoes triage–even when resources are abundant. It's determining who has the greatest need, and where the resources will do the most good.

    The classic medical triage separates the injured into three groups:

    1) Those who'll live, even without help.
    2) Those who'll die, regardless of help.
    3) Those that can be saved if we help them.

    We'll get to Group 1 when things calm down and we have time.
    Group 2 is a complete waste of resources.
    Group 3 is where the most good can be done.

    You seem to think the only resource is the kidney. That's the least of it. We're talking about the time and effort of human beings. There are dozens of people involved in a kidney transplant–and every hour they're wasting on a useless surgery* is an hour they're not allowed to relax, spend time with their families, sleep, and do all the things that humans need to recharge. A cranky, sleep-deprived surgeon (or other medical staff) is a danger to everyone they interact with. It's also medical supplies, medications, money, and a multitude of things that I'm sure any medical professional can fill in.

    In this equation, the kidney has zero value.

    —–
    * As has been pointed out, an anti-vaxxer getting a transplant is almost certain to die within a few months.

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  63. de stijl says:

    That expanded like Jack Black’s blackboard diagram in School Of Rock.

    You need a pointer.

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  64. Unsympathetic says:

    Since the God of these people protects them from covid with a shield of magic, I’m confused why their god is so capricious that he allows kidney failure to progress?

    I’m also confused about the logic of attempting to force more than 10 highly trained and paid people [pre-op RN, 2x surg tech, 2 assisting nurses in each surgery, 2x surgeon, additional organ transplant team, recovery RN] to do something in the name of freedom. That would be… NOT freedom for the medical team. The medical staff determined the death risks without the vaccine are too great – not based on politics and lies [which is where these vaccine objections come from], but based on objective reality.

    The patient can stomp her feet and whine, but her freedom isn’t more “ethically important” than their medical judgements. She will also find that pre-op requirements for surgery include updates to multiple vaccines such as TDAP. I’m shocked she doesn’t have a problem also remaining vaccinated against polio.

    She has the freedom to go find out that every hospital big enough to support a transplant program will make the same call. If she chooses to die, her death won’t be on a hospital — because that person simply has to take the vaccine to meet the needs of the medical team for the transplant to proceed.

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  65. Gustopher says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    Nobody outside a few niche critics has even heard of the upstart “Spiteful Fetuses”. And even for those who have, it’s blatantly obvious that they’re simply copying the later work of the Fetal Stem Line–and doing so in a genre-locked “produce what’s expected” way as opposed to the astounding “we don’t know what we’ll become” repertoire of the Fetal Stem Line.

    But, Spiteful Fetuses was first, and Fetal Stem Line is clearly copying from them. It’s the same basic formula, over and over — the same four chords in the same pattern as the original Spiteful Fetuses.

    Sure, the Fetal Stem Line has been more successful, but that’s really more to the credit of the different producers who take the basic building blocks and put their own style into it.

    The success of Fetal Stem Line is really just the success of those producers.

    And then there is the sampling. Many people only know of Fetal Stem Line from entirely different artists who have appropriated tiny fragments into their own work. Do you think the Parkinson’s Anti-Tremor Brigade And Full Orchestra would have gotten anywhere without sampling Fetal Stem Line’s work that was literally just a copy of Spiteful Fetuses?

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  66. de stijl says:

    @Mu Yixiao:
    @Gustopher:

    Why y’all talking about Iggy and The Stooges so weirdly?

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  67. de stijl says:

    @Mu Yixiao:
    @Gustopher:

    Ignoring the hilariously extended metaphor,
    I have known people like this. People obsessed with categorization and uncomfortable with shifting boundaries and whether something was acceptable or not in-group.

    Like the movie High Fidelity where nerds were so buried up their own asses as a shield they were unprepared for the sloppy, messy give-and-take of life.

    When Jack Black’s character was bullying and berating the other clerk for liking Belle and Sebastian it was spot on to what happens in certain circles. I felt for the B&S dude.

    I decided to pay no mind to brittle assholes.

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  68. Jen says:

    @Shocked I am: So, you’re okay with a transplant that will increase her chances of dying from Covid, and use scarce hospital resources in the process?

    No one is “agreeing with letting her die because of their own beliefs.” If you read the comments, there are serious medical issues here.

    She’s asking for a transplant, which will require a LIFETIME of a suppressed immune system, making her MORE vulnerable to ANY communicable disease. This is a straightforward fact of any transplant because to prevent transplant rejection, she will be on immune-suppressing drugs. Again, for the rest of her life.

    Which, if she refuses to be vaccinated, will likely be short.

    The risk of death and severe illness in transplant recipients is so high they were at the front of the line for vaccination and at the front of the line for booster shots.

    Put the reverse way: is it ethical for the doctors to actively increase her susceptibility to severe illness and death from covid? Because that’s exactly what they would be doing by going forward with this transplant.

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