A Colorado woman says she was told she couldn't get a life-saving kidney transplant unless she got vaccinated

The University of Colorado Hospital. John Leyba/The Denver Post via Getty Images
Leilani Lytali has stage five renal disease.

She claimed that she was told that she could not get a transplant due to her inability to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

UCHealth has recently adopted a vaccination policy in order to protect its patients' health.

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CBS Denver reported that a woman suffering from stage five kidney failure was told she could not receive a life-saving transplant unless she was vaccinated against COVID-19.

Leilani Lutali was notified by Colorado's healthcare system, UCHealth on September 28 that they had given Jaimee Fougner (30 days) to start the vaccine process. If they refuse, they would be removed form the list for kidney transplantation.

The letter stated that the University of Colorado Hospital transplant team had determined it was necessary to make you inactive on their waiting list. You will be removed from the waiting list for non-compliance if you do not receive the COVID vaccine. You have 30 days to complete the vaccination series. You will be removed from the list of kidney transplant recipients if you decide to reject COVID vaccination.

Lutali was informed in the letter that she would be able get on the transplant list again once she had been fully vaccinated.

On Tuesday, Colorado's Republican state Rep. Tim Geitner tweeted a photo of Lutali’s letter, calling the decision "disgusting."

Lutali stated to CBS Denver that they had confirmed at the end of August that no COVID shot was needed. Fast forward to September 28. This is when I discovered the truth.

Both women have not been vaccinated. CBS Denver's Lutali said she had not been vaccinated because there were too many unknowns with her illness. Fougner, however, cited religious reasons.

"I stated that I would sign a medical waiver. According to Lutali, CBS Denver, I must sign a waiver for the transplant. This releases them from any possible problems. It's surgery. It's invasive. I agree to a waiver for the rest of my life. I don't understand why I cannot sign a waiver to receive the COVID shot.

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CBS Denver reported that both Fougner and Lutani are trying to find a Colorado hospital that will perform the transplant even though they're not yet vaccinated.

UCHealth stated that it has recently introduced a policy that requires almost all transplant recipients and organ donors get a COVID-19 vaccine before they undergo surgery.

"The mortality rate for transplant patients with COVID-19 ranges between 20% and 30%. It stated that this demonstrates the severe risk COVID-19 poses for transplant recipients following their surgeries.

According to a spokesperson for UCHealth, other transplant centers in the US are moving towards similar policies. Insider reached out to UCHealth for comment but they did not respond immediately.

According to the Health Resources and Services Administration, more than 100,000 people are on the transplant waiting lists. Only a small fraction of those who need a kidney were granted one last year.

According to the American Transplant Foundation, 17 people per day die waiting for an organ.

Insider has the original article.