Leilani Lutali, a Colorado woman, has been denied a kidney transplant because she won’t be vaccinated against COVID-19 due to her religious views.
Leilani Lutali will no longer be receiving a kidney transplant after she confirmed that she would not be getting the COVID-19 vaccine, the Associated Press reported on Friday.
Lutali, a born-again Christian, told the AP she objected to the use of fetal cell lines in the development of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Despite the fact that she has stage 5 kidney disease and is at risk of dying without a new kidney, Lutali, 56, refused to be vaccinated due to the role that stem cells have played in vaccine development.
“As a Christian, I can’t support anything that has to do with abortion of babies, and the sanctity of life for me is precious,” Lutali said.
Covid-19 or organ transplant?
According to Lutali, a tech recruiter, her hospital is so determined to save her from COVID-19 that it is willing to let her die by preventing her transplant surgery.
Lutali stated that she does not fear death because she believes in the afterlife. She is looking for another hospital, possibly in Texas or Florida, where she can receive a transplant without having to be vaccinated.
“I have hope that something will come along that is something I can live with in terms of my choices,” she said.
UCHealth requires transplant recipients to be vaccinated because they are at high risk of contracting COVID-19, as well as being hospitalized and dying from the virus, according to UCHealth spokesman Dan Weaver. He added that unvaccinated donors could pass COVID-19 to the recipient even if they initially tested negative for the disease.
Why fetal cells used in Covid vaccine
According to UCLA Health, fetal line cells were used in Pfizer’s and Moderna’s vaccine testing to see if their vaccines were effective, while Johnson & Johnson used fetal line cells in its vaccine’s development and production.
The Aurora, Colo.-based UCHealth told The Hill in a statement earlier this week that in “almost all situations” transplants and living donors were required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 “in addition to meeting other health requirements and receiving additional vaccinations.”
Leilani Lutali speaks out after hospital denies life-saving transplant
“I believe that my days are numbered as I continue to deteriorate in my GFR numbers,” Leilani Lutali said. GFR, or glomerular filtration rate, measures how well the kidneys are functioning in filtering out toxins and waste from the blood. A number of 60 or higher is considered normal. Stage 5 is characterized by GFR numbers below 15, where the kidneys have almost or completely stopped their functioning.
“I did reach out to the hospital to decide whether dialysis was an option. They said at this point the [vaccine] shot would not be required, but told me I was irresponsible in not getting it,” she said.
Lutali’s donor, Jaimee Fougner, expressed her outrage about the hospital’s decision. She previously said, “How can I sit here and allow them to murder my friend when I’ve got a perfectly good kidney and can save her life?”
Fougner said she was “stunned at the lack of compassion and consideration” in allowing Lutali to be the driver in her own care. “They’re holding my kidney hostage and she’s going to die because they won’t give it to her,” she said.