Forty-one-year-old Derek Kovick from New Plymouth, Idaho, husband and father of two, suffers from Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis, which is a rare and very serious liver disease that requires him to receive a liver transplant. Now waiting on his third liver transplant, a serious concern has unexpectedly come up after getting a phone call from University of Washington Seattle nurse.
“Transplant and Infectious Disease require COVID vaccination for transplant. Therefore, you need to be working on getting the COVID vaccinations locally,” the nurse shared via email. Patients are reportedly being told that they must get the vaccine before having life-saving organ transplants. The problem with this is, Derek Kovick does not want to take the vaccine before his transplant due to real concerns about side effects.
Kovick is aware of some of the side effects the vaccine has had on friends, family and people around him. Fever and inflammation from the vaccine could have serious and life-threatening effects on patients like Kovick. He mentioned that getting a fever of 100.4 would require him to go to the emergency room immediately, which did in fact happen just weeks ago when he spiked a fever from his liver disease. His concern is that getting a high fever from the vaccine could kill him and he does not want to risk it. Kovick says that he is not anti-vaccine and would like to get one AFTER his organ transplant, but it sounds like this may not be an option.
Kovick recently spoke with Tucker Carlson on Fox News about the dilemma and his medical freedom being challenged. If he chooses not to take the vaccine, he will be placed on status 7 which means he will not be on the list to receive an organ because he no longer fits the criteria for being compliant. Infectious disease team encouraged Kovick to move forward with the vaccine if he wishes to receive the transplant. Kovick has a limited amount of time to decide.
Are there any options here? If Kovick takes the vaccine, he could die from side effects. If he refuses the vaccine, he will not receive the liver transplant that is required for him to live. Can the doctors force Kovick into taking a vaccine he does not want in fear of life-threatening risk? When a patient is otherwise compliant with organ transplant criteria, can the hospital withhold an organ if it can save a life?
What do you think about this story? What would YOU do in his position?