A Boston man has been removed from the heart transplant list because of his vaccination status, CBS Boston reports. According to the man's family, DJ Furguson was once on the list to receive a heart at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, but due to his vaccination status, he has been removed.
According to the man's father, DJ does not believe in the COVID-19 vaccine.
"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," David, father of DJ, told CBS. "My son has gone to the edge of death to stick to his guns and he's been pushed to the limit."
The hospital says that COVID-19 research shows that shows that those who have had transplants were at a much higher risk of dying from COVID-19 compared to those without transplants.
"We do everything we can to ensure that a patient who receives a transplanted organ has the greatest chance of survival," a spokesperson told The New York Post.
"Our Mass General Brigham healthcare system requires several CDC-recommended vaccines, including the COVID-19 vaccine, and lifestyle behaviors for transplant candidates to create both the best chance for a successful operation and to optimize the patient's survival after transplantation, given that their immune system is drastically suppressed.
"Patients are not active on the waitlist without this," the hospital said to the New York Post.
Furguson, a father of two with a third on the way, may be moved to another hospital by his family, but his father fears that he is too weak to be relocated.
"We are aggressively pursuing all options, but we are running out of time," David 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," David said. "It's his body. It's his choice."
The CDC recomments that immunocompromised people, which includes organ transplant recipients, be vaccinated because they are especially vulnerable to COVID-19.
A GoFundMe for Furguson that was launched upon his hospitalization has reached over $31,000.
An update from DJ's spouse was posted to the GoFundMe on Tuesday:
"Mentally I am not ready to share this update with everyone as we are still trying to process and accept this. But I feel that it's only fair to keep our friends and family in the loop considering the severity of this situation. After almost 50 days in the hospital with no answers, DJ was finally seen by some of the best cardiac specialists last week.
"After running countless tests and scans we learned that DJ is now in severe end stage heart failure, meaning that he is going to need a heart transplant to live. On top of the heart failure his heart is extremely swollen and dilated. Which puts him at high risk of cardiac arrest etc. The good news is that he went through all the testing to be put on the transplant list and passed with flying colors since he's young and healthy aside from the heart failure. With that being said he was accepted to be a candidate for heart transplant.
"... The vaccine typically causes swelling in the heart (usually temporary for most people no big deal right?) But in DJs case he can NOT afford for his heart to swell any more than it already is right now. He is at extremely high risk of sudden death if it does. We have had many conversations with the doctors, who confirmed that his heart COULD swell and go into severe crisis but they can't guarantee anything and it's a choice we will have to make if he wants to be listed," she continues. "We are devastated. We can't even process this. I haven't even found the courage to sit down with my son and explain what is happening to his father. I can not even start to describe the pain we are all going through ...
"... Lastly, I want to add that despite the decision of the transplant board, he is in the best place possible. His nurses and doctors have been nothing but compassionate and amazing to him."