Australian mother of two denied heart transplant for refusing COVID-19 vaccine
An Australian woman has been denied a heart transplant because she has not been vaccinated against COVID-19, Yahoo News reported on Monday.
Vicki Derderian, a mother of two, has been relying on a ventricular assist device to stay alive since 2020 when her heart failed.
Derderian says she is not an anti-vaxxer, adding, however, that she had “to think twice” about taking the vaccine due to her heart condition as she feared the risk of myocarditis and pericarditis.
Although myocarditis and pericarditis, which are both inflammatory conditions of the heart, are “rare” after COVID-19 vaccines, they can be serious, the report said.
Since she is not vaccinated, Derderian was denied the lifesaving surgery by Victoria’s Department of Health and Human Services.
“The hospital stance at the moment is no jab, no heart. I’m ready to be on the heart transplant list because medically I’m stable to be on it. But unfortunately, because of these mandates, it has interfered with patient-doctor relationships,” Yahoo News quoted Derderian as saying to Channel 9’s Today Show.
“Patients like myself, we’re being pushed into a corner and coerced to take something that goes against what we believe in. Or not receive lifesaving treatment. And also for doctors as well, they are forced to implement this on their patients otherwise they’ll lose their jobs.”
Former Deputy Chief Health Officer Dr Nick Coatsworth said that while he sympathizes with Derderian’s case, he “stands-by the rules.”
He also explained why the COVID-19 vaccine is important in her case.
“From a transplant physicians’ point of view… the biggest risk to you when we hit your immune system like that if you get COVID-19 without having the vaccine, then there’s a really significant risk that you’ll die and that organ will die with you,” Dr Coatsworth told the show.
“And we don’t want that to happen to you and we certainly don’t want it to happen to the family whose made that sacred donation. So, it is such a complex area. I don’t envy your decision, but I do standby the rules of the transplant physicians have made here.”
Dr Coatsworth also called on Derderian to think again about taking the vaccine, noting that any complications associated with the vaccine are “very, very small compared to everything that you’ve been through so far.”
“If I was in your position, I’d receive it because I think it’s the safest thing to do. I think it’s the safest thing to do. I know you don’t agree with me. I respect that decision. But please, please reconsider.”
Derderian, however, remained adamant and said if she ever gets infected with COVID-19, there are treatments available to deal with it, the report added.