California Hospital Refuses Transplant Surgery for Unvaccinated Woman With End-Stage Kidney Disease

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    from The Epoch Times:

    SAN DIEGO, Calif.—Even on a good day, Linda Garinger of Ramona, California, thinks about dying.

    Since she went on kidney dialysis two years ago, she’s had a heart attack and a cardiac episode associated with her thrice-weekly treatments.

    Her energy is low as her other vital organs slowly fail. Her blood pressure is out of control—hovering at around 200 systolic over “100-something”diastolic whenever she undergoes dialysis.

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    Garinger feels it’s only a matter of time before her next heart attack, which could prove fatal unless she gets a new kidney.

    Epoch Times Photo
    Linda Garinger, 68, of Ramona, Calif., looks out her living room window on March 13, 2023. (Allan Stein/The Epoch Times)

    “The dialysis is very stressful on me. My vision is going. My hair is falling out. I’ve got skin cancer,” said Garinger, 68. “They said it’s from the dialysis not filtering out all the bad stuff.

    “My biggest fear is I’ll have a heart attack during dialysis. I’m just going downhill right now.”

    In 2022, Garinger was eagerly waiting for a kidney transplant at Sharp Memorial Hospital in San Diego, having found a good organ match in her daughter, the doctors told her.

    But, “I needed [the transplant] like two years ago,” Garinger said.

    Early last May, Garinger received an unexpected letter from the hospital saying she was no longer on the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) waitlist for a kidney transplant.

    “The reason for this status change is you have not had your COVID vaccines,” read the May 6, 2022, letter Garinger shared with The Epoch Times.

    “Once this situation is remedied, you will be evaluated for re-activation on the transplant waitlist.”

    Garinger did not appeal the hospital’s decision. She knew “in her gut” her unvaccinated status would always be a problem.

    Still, she put her faith in Sharp Memorial, only to be put through tests, medical procedures, and consultations at a substantial cost to Medicare.

    “The whole time, they knew I wasn’t vaccinated and that [my daughter] wasn’t vaccinated. They would always ask me, ‘Why don’t you want to get a vaccine?’”

    “I was pretty adamant,” said Garinger. “I didn’t want to take anything that was still experimental.”

    She remembered her good friend who died two weeks after receiving a COVID shot. “She lived right over here, on the other side [of the street],” Garinger said.

    Garinger said she was fortunate to find another hospital nearby that would operate without her taking the vaccine.

    Starting All Over

    The challenge now is the time it will take to complete all the required paperwork and preliminary procedures, the time it will take to get on a waitlist for a kidney donor, and the time it will take to find a donor.

    She fears her time will run out before then.

    One sympathetic doctor said, ‘Linda, you could drop over dead. Your heart could stop.’ So, I have to watch what I eat, and on the days I don’t do dialysis, I take this powder that tastes like gritty sand” to remove the excess potassium from her body.

    Garinger finds herself among many people who need an organ transplant but are up against a medical system still adhering to vaccine protocols in many facilities.

    In a 2021 Healio transplantation survey, 60 percent of the 141 transplant centers that responded did not require a COVID-19 injection before surgery. The survey sample represented just over 56 percent of the transplant centers in the United States.

    Jeffrey Childers, a commercial attorney based in Gainesville, Florida, served clients facing COVID-19 mandates at hospitals and medical clinics during the pandemic.

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