COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) – Leilani Lutali told 11 News she has end stage renal failure and needs a kidney as soon as possible. She said when she started working with UCHealth months ago, the fact that she was unvaccinated was not an issue.
“Fast forward a month and that policy had changed. So that was a surprise to me,” Lutali said.
She had found a donor candidate, Jaimee Fougner, who was willing to go through the tests. But after passing a few preliminary exams, Fougner was asked if she was vaccinated. She is not, and the process stopped.
UCHealth did not speak to 11 News on camera, but they did issue a statement outlining the risk they associate with a transplant recipient and the COVID-19 virus. They would not comment on any individual patients.
“Note that among the general population, for those who test positive for COVID-19, the mortality (death) rate is about 1.6%. It’s even less if you consider the people who are infected but who don’t get tested or who are asymptomatic,” UCHealth’s Vice President CommunicationsDan Weaver explained in an email to 11 News. “For transplant patients who contract COVID-19, the mortality rate ranges from about 20% to more than 30%.”
Lutali said if the hospital worried about responsibility, she’s more than willing to sign a waiver. She said she also has found multiple potential donors who are willing to help her, therefore ending any discussion about her taking a kidney from another patient on the list who is vaccinated.
“It’s a bring your own donor situation,” Lutali said with a laugh.
Lutali says she is unwilling to bend on her decision about the vaccine and is now looking at options for other medical centers in Texas or Florida who might perform the transplant. She says she is looking into dialysis treatment in the meantime.