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Unvaccinated Man Who Was Denied Kidney Transplant After Refusing COVID-19 Jab Says He’s ‘Willing To Die’

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Man Denied Kidney Transplant After Refusing COVID-19 Vaccine

A North Carolina man's decision not to get the vaccine means he will not be able to get a much-needed kidney transplant.

Chad Carswell is a Burke's County resident and double amputee who says not even his health condition will convince him to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Carswell’s kidney is only functioning at 4% of what it should be and he urgently needs a transplant as the issue with his kidney is life-threatening.

However, Carswell's unvaccinated status means he was denied a kidney transplant.

After, undergoing all the neccessary tests and processes in order to get the transplant, Carswell was told by Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist Hospital that both he and his donor would have to be vaccinated in order for the transplant to go ahead.

Carswell has even fundraised money for the operation and many in his community had offered to donate their own kidneys.

“Without one, there’s no telling how much longer I’ll be here, I have to have a kidney to prolong my life,” said Carswell who currently gets undergoes dialysis three times a week.

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Carswell says he won't get vaccinated.

This is an issue that Carswell seems to be unwilling to move on. Carswell is staunchly against getting the Covid-19 vaccine and he isn’t going to let this life-saving surgery change his mind.

He said doctors and nurses had urged him to get vaccinated.

“That’s when I politely told him there’s nothing to talk about,” Carswell said. “It wasn’t up for debate, I wasn’t getting it. And he told me ‘You know you’ll die if you don’t get it,’ and I told him I’m willing to die.”

Some have wondered why the hospital would require that Carswell get vaccinated for a seemingly unrelated operation. After all, Carswell has already had Covid twice and should have some measure of resistance to the illness.

In response to the outcry, Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist Hospital has released the following statement, “Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist’s policy follows the current standard of care in the United States, which is to vaccinate all patients on waiting lists or being evaluated for transplant."

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"We understand that some patients may not wish to be vaccinated. In this case, patients can opt to be evaluated at another transplant center.”

The hospital vaccine policy is in place to ensure transplants are safe.

Despite the fact that Carswell has survived having Covid twice, he’s never had it while being immunocompromised following a kidney transplant surgery.

Transplant recipients must have their immune systems suppressed so that their bodies don’t reject the donated organ. The immunocompromised are far more likely to suffer severe illness or die of all Covid-19 variants.

No matter the reasoning provided by the hospital, Carswell has made it clear that nothing is going to change his mind, saying, “there will not be a situation that occurs where I’ll change my mind on this topic.”

It isn’t clear why Carswell has such a hard and fast stance on the vaccine besides that he has said that it should be everyone’s choice whether or not they get it.

The Covid-19 vaccines are proven safe and effective, particularly for those with compromised immune systems who are able to get it, but ultimately, Chad Carswell is free to make his choice.

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Dan O'Reilly is a writer who covers news, politics, and social justice. Follow him on Twitter.