As of October 2021, the Cleveland Clinic will not permit patients who have not gotten COVID-19 vaccine to undergo lifesaving organ transplants, either as a recipient or a living donor. The clinic’s reasoning is that the recipient, who receives immunosuppressant drugs post-transplant, could be at high risk of contracting SARS-Cov-2. The unvaccinated will not be accepted as living organ donors due to the possibility that the virus could be transmitted to the transplant recipient during the operation.1
According to the clinic:
Living donation for organ transplantation has been a life-saving treatment, but it is not without risks to the donor. For the living donor, preventing COVID-19 infection around the time of their surgery and recovery is crucial.2
Cleveland Clinic officials point to a John Hopkins University study that found that kidney transplant patients who received a COVID vaccine after the transplant procedure did not mount a sufficient immune response to vaccination. The study showed that less than one out of every five kidney transplant patients amounted a strong response to the vaccine. However, a subsequent Johns Hopkins study showed that transplant recipients who received a COVID booster did amount a sufficient antibody response.3
Cleveland Clinic Denies Transplant to Unvaccinated Nine-Year-Old with Only One Failing Kidney
Nine-year-old Tanner Donaldson is being denied a kidney transplant because of Cleveland Clinic’s rigid COVID vaccine restrictions on organ transplant procedures. Tanner, who was born with only one kidney currently functioning at between 18-20 percent, will need a transplant soon. Fortunately, his father, Dane Donaldson, is a perfect match and a willing donor. Although Tanner has been under the care of the Clinic since his birth, he is unable to receive the organ transplant due to recent changes to the clinic’s transplant policy.4
Dane Donaldson was found to be a kidney transplant match for his son in 2018. The family decided to wait a few years for Tanner to have the surgery as a kidney from a live donor is only expected to last about 20 years and Tanner is so young. However, because the Donaldson’s are not vaccinated due to their personal and religious beliefs, the Cleveland Clinic refuses to perform the life-saving operation it had previously agreed to perform.5
Both of Tanners parents along with Tanner and his older sibling survived a bout with COVID and have natural immunity from the virus but the clinic has not changed their policy and has not responded to the family’s lawyer’s requests for a religious exemption.6 7
Kidneys from Unvaccinated Dead Donors are Used But Unvaccinated Live Kidney Donors are Turned Away
In an article in The Epoch Times, the Donaldsons pointed out that the hospital’s policy allows the kidneys of unvaccinated deceased donors to be used for kidney transplants but turns away unvaccinated live kidney donors.
Commenting on the contradiction, Dane Donaldson said:
A live donor is the best donor for kidneys, but they’ll take a kidney from a deceased person not vaccinated, it makes no sense.8
Despite the Donaldson’s offer to sign a liability waiver protecting the clinic should he or Tanner come down with COVID post-transplant, the clinic continues to refuse to perform the procedure for Tanner, maintaining that:
We continually strive to minimize risk to our living donors, and vaccination is an important component to ensure the safest approach and optimal outcomes for donors.9
The Informed Consent Action Network (ICAN) sent a letter to the Cleveland Clinic listing a number of studies showing that it is rare for a person to be reinfected with COVID after recovering from the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which included a study published by the clinic itself. In that study looking at 52,238 vaccinated and unvaccinated health care workers, not one of the previously infected unvaccinated health care workers were reinfected with the virus over a five-month period.10
In an ABC-TV report, Dane Donaldson said about the Cleveland Clinic and his young son…
I don’t know what we do today. You know, I gotta think somewhere out there, that cooler heads would prevail and we could, you know, I’d love it still to be at the Clinic and us come around and have some type of dialogue and say, ‘Okay, you know, let’s look at your case,’” said Donaldson. “We’re trying to put plan B in place. The number one thing I can do is keep him as healthy as possible and I can remain and keep my health the best I can. But it’s stressful. There’s no doubt about it. You know, it just is.11
The Donaldsons are trying to find another facility that will perform the kidney transplant for Tanner.
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Click here to view References:
4 Jarvis J. Cleveland Clinic COVID-19 vaccination policy prevents dad from donating kidney to 9-year-old son. News 5 Cleveland Apr. 5, 2022.
5 Giodano, A. Hospital Refuses Father-to-Son Kidney Transplant Over COVID Jab. The Epoch Times Apr. 5, 2022.
6 Jarvis J. Cleveland Clinic COVID-19 vaccination policy prevents dad from donating kidney to 9-year-old son. News 5 Cleveland Apr. 5, 2022.
7 Giodano, A. Hospital Refuses Father-to-Son Kidney Transplant Over COVID Jab. The Epoch Times Apr. 5, 2022.
11 Jarvis J. Cleveland Clinic COVID-19 vaccination policy prevents dad from donating kidney to 9-year-old son. News 5 Cleveland Apr. 5, 2022.