DJ Ferguson is fighting for his life at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital because he was denied a needed heart transplant because he’s unvaccinated. While the Boston man says the Covid-19 vaccine goes against his beliefs, the hospital isn’t budging. They say a mandatory Covid-19 vaccine is for the protection of the patients.
“The Covid-19 vaccine is one of several vaccines and lifestyle behaviors required for transplant candidates in the Mass General Brigham system in order to create both the best chance for a successful operation and also the patient’s survival after transplantation,” Brigham and Women’s Hospital said in a statement.
This idea is also backed by the CDC, who recommends that immunocompromised people, including those on the transplant lists, get the vaccine because they are at a higher risk for Covid-19.
While DJ Ferguson’s story has gone viral, many are wondering why the Boston father was denied a heart transplant because he was unvaccinated. Dr. Arthur Caplan, head of Medical Ethics at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, explained that while the chance of survival is lowered if the patient isn’t vaccinated, doctors also have to think about the organs being transplanted.
He said, “Post any transplant, kidney, heart whatever, your immune system is shut off. The flu could kill you; a cold could kill you, COVID could kill you. The organs are scarce, we are not going to distribute them to someone who has a poor chance of living when others who are vaccinated have a better chance post-surgery of surviving.”
According to DJ Ferguson and his family, the 31-year-old doesn’t want to get the vaccine because of a possible side effect of heart inflammation, which has been seen in rare cases. The Boston man doesn’t want to risk the possibility that his heart could swell.
“It’s kind of against his basic principles, he doesn’t believe in it. It’s a policy they are enforcing and so because he won’t get the shot, they took him off the list of a heart transplant,” David Ferguson, DJ’s father, said. “We have had many conversations with the doctors, who confirmed that his heart COULD swell and go into severe crisis, but they can’t guarantee anything and it’s a choice we will have to make if he wants to be listed.”
Because the hospital is refusing to do a heart transplant, DJ’s family is trying to relocate him to another hospital that doesn’t have a Covid-19 vaccine mandate. But they are worried that the Boston patient is too weak to move and might not survive the relocation.
DJ Ferguson has been in the hospital since November 2021, when his lungs filled up with fluid and blood. The 31-year-old has a hereditary heart condition. Ferguson is a father of two and is currently expecting a third child with his partner. Since he was admitted to the hospital, Ferguson and his partner have been unable to work and provide for their family.
His family has set up a GoFundMe page for the Boston patient. So far, over $29,000 has been donated. All the money will go toward DJ Ferguson’s medical bills and support for his family.
The page says, “Heather & Dj are the most amazing people I know and are the first to give a hand to anyone that needs help. Also, the best parents to their two children Hunter & Kennedy. Both DJ & Heather have not been able to work since Dj has been in the hospital and while both of them are self-employed – keeping up with everyday bills and now medical bills rolling in, things can get tight.”
They continued and added that “in the season of giving, I would love to show them how great this community is and make their life a little easier. Especially because we don’t know how long this road will be and when/if Dj will be able to return to work as his job requires much physical labor.”