Man turns down kidney transplant over Covid vaccine requirement

North Carolina hospital’s policy is that patient and donor both need to have had shots

<p>Chad Carswell</p>

Chad Carswell

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A man turned down a kidney transplant over the hospital’s Covid-19 vaccination policy as he insisted he would rather “die-free” than comply.

Chad Carswell, a double amputee who has undergone previous heart surgeries, has been told by doctors he needs the surgery to survive.

“I was born free. I will die free. I’m not changing my mind,” Mr Carswell told WSOC-TV.

“I’ve had conversations with my family and everybody that’s close to me. They know where I stand, and it’ll not be a situation that occurs that I will choose to change my mind on this topic.”

Mr Carswell’s kidney is currently working at just four per cent and he needs dialysis in North Carolina three times a week.

His friends and family have raised money to pay for the surgery and more than 100 people have offered him a kidney.

But Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem told him that he and the kidney donor both need to be fully vaccinated for the surgery to go ahead.

“He said, ‘The last thing we need to talk about is your vaccination status,’” Mr Carswell said about a conversation with a hospital official.

“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.’”

Mr Carswell says he has already had Covid-19 twice and believes the vaccine is a personal choice.

“Without (a transplant), there’s no telling how much longer I’ll still be here. I have to have a kidney to prolong my life,” he added.

Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist Hospital told the news channel that its policy followed health standards implemented across the country.

“The reason it is recommended is to provide protection for the patient. Transplant patients are at high risk for severe illness if they don’t have preexisting immunity prior to being transplanted,” the hospital said in a statement.

Mr Carswell says he is now looking at other hospitals in the state to see if they will carry out the surgery.

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