An end-stage liver disease patient has been denied transplant because she refused COVID-19 vaccine.
Michelle Vitullo has reportedly battled this diagnosis for years, and it was gathered that her liver is permanently damaged and many of its cells turned into scar tissue.
After her daughter Angela Green was discovered to be a match, the patient who has been receiving treatment for her ailment at Cleveland Clinic in Ohio since 2019 was told that she needs the COVID-19 shot if she wants the transplant as the surgery would weaken her immune system.
Doctors were reportedly ready to remove part of Angela’s liver and use it to save her mother, but the surgery was called off less than two weeks later after her family insisted that they against COVID-19 vaccine for religious and medical reasons.
Angela told WJW;
‘We were told to get ready. Then we get the news we were taken off the list and we can’t do it without the vaccine and it was heartbreaking.
‘We’ve heard of adverse reactions like blood clotting and heart problems. Those are not supposed to happen from a vaccine and we don’t feel comfortable taking on that many risks.’
Michelle’s husband, Jim Vitullo said;
‘To us, it’s a big mistake. It’s against our beliefs.’
The family was already making many sacrifices to try and get Michelle the transplant she needed, including her husband Jim quitting his job because of all the visits required.
‘They had us sign an agreement that we would live within one hour of the Cleveland Clinic, I had to quit my job because of all the visits, ended up sleeping literally hundreds of days in my car in the carport there because of the expense.’
Responding to the controversy that trailed the prospective transplant, Cleveland Clinic said it recently began requiring organ donors and transplant candidates to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Cleveland Clinic said;
‘Vaccination is particularly important in these patients for their safety.
‘For the living donor, preventing Covid-19 infection around the time of a surgical operation is crucial. For the transplant candidate, in addition to a major operation, medications taken after an organ transplant weaken a person’s immune response.
‘Serious complications of the coronavirus are most likely to develop in those who have weakened immune systems, as their body has a reduced ability to fight and recover from infections.’
The Vitullo family now hopes to find another hospital willing to perform the surgery. ‘It’s just wrong,’ said Jim. ‘How can you do that to somebody?’
Michelle and her daughter began to cry when they thought about what might occur if she’s unable to get the liver transplant.
‘I don’t think they do care.I feel bad because my grandkids, they say, “Grandma we’re praying for you to get better”. It breaks my heart because now I have to tell them I may not get better.’
The family still refuses to receive the Covid-19 vaccine.