A teenage girl refused a kidney transplant because she was not vaccinated against COVID, her parents say
Appearing on “Fox & Friends Weekend” Saturday morning to discuss the dire medical dilemma facing their family, the parents of an unvaccinated teenage girl against COVID-19 discovered that their daughter was unable to proceed with the kidney transplant she needed at Duke University Hospital in Durham, North Carolina.
Chrissy Hicks, the mom of 14-year-old Yulia Hicks, recounted her exchange about the problem with a medical officer.
“I said, ‘So you’re basically telling us if she doesn’t get it vaccinethen she won’t get a transplant,” Chrissy Hicks said. “AND [the medical employee] said, ‘Yeah, that’s the only thing that’s keeping us going’.”
Chrissy and Lee Hicks from North Carolina adopted their daughter Yulia from Ukraine almost two years ago.
The couple has eight biological children and three adopted children, according to the program.
The girl suffers from a rare degenerative kidney condition known as Senior Loken syndrome, which requires a transplant, according to reports.
Although she was not vaccinated against COVID, she had the coronavirus – so her parents believe she is protected natural immunity.
Dad Lee Hicks said Saturday morning, “We’ve been open the whole time we’ve been seen at Duke, the last two years, that we’re not comfortable with the vaccine — the COVID-19 vaccine. And so they’ve known all along that we’re not comfortable with this .”
Dad added, “And that wasn’t a requirement. It was a…recommendation, according to [the doctors] from the beginning — to the very end.”
“They knew all along that we were not comfortable” with the COVID-19 vaccine, the parents said.
Lee Hicks said their daughter got “nine hours [medical] workup” in October.
“And then they are [the doctors and hospital officials] decided or told us that it would be a highly recommended requirement for her to get the vaccine before the transplant.”
He added: “So the phone call… That’s when [the official] he said it wasn’t a condition, it was [a] recommendation, but it can’t get a transplant without vaccines.”
Health officials “said it’s not a requirement, it is [a] recommendation, but she can’t get a transplant without a vaccine.”
Chrissy Hicks also said on “Fox & Friends Weekend,” “We’ve hired a lawyer… to help us fight Duke [Hospital].”
She added: “But we don’t want Yulia’s life to be engulfed in litigation. We hope the medical center can come forward and say, ‘Come here, we’ll give you a transplant without vaccination’.”
The parents set up a website for their daughter, they said — YuliaGrace.com.
“If there is a medical center out there that will accept it [our daughter] as a patient, we would like them to reach out to us,” added Chrissy Hicks.
Mom also said, “We have 11 children. So it’s not really financially affordable for us to go out of state on our own [get] operation.”
“Hicks, who is originally from Ukraine, had previously had COVID and recovered.”
Duke Children’s Hospital & Health Center, according to its website, is ranked among the top children’s hospitals nationally in nine specialties by US News & World Report; provides care for thousands of pediatric patients each year.
Fox News Digital reached out to the hospital system on Saturday.
Duke Health officials shared the following comment.
“Our hearts go out to all families dealing with the serious illness of a loved one, and we are committed to making organ transplants available to as many eligible patients as possible,” officials said.
“To protect patient privacy, we cannot comment on individual cases.”
“We have provided more than 10,000 organ transplants since 1965,” they continued. “Eligibility for an organ transplant is a complex medical decision based on many health factors to ensure the best outcomes. These decisions are made in consultation with families and medical professionals and follow the latest medical evidence and regulatory guidelines that all transplant centers must follow.”
Duke Health went on to say, “To protect patient privacy, we cannot comment on individual cases.”
Alex Berenson, a former New York Times investigative reporter, shared on his Substack last Wednesday that a 14-year-old girl was denied a kidney transplant at Duke University Hospital because she had not been vaccinated against COVID-19, as reported by Outkick.
Outkick noticed in his article that “according to Berenson, Yulia Hicks should have received the vaccine before the hospital would perform her surgery. Hicks, who is originally from Ukraine, had previously had COVID and recovered.” Berenson spoke with the girl’s parents.
“Yes, it is strongly recommended that all patients on the transplant list be fully vaccinated prior to transplant.”
Many hospital systems across the country either recommend or require that patients on transplant lists be fully vaccinated before transplant.
The University of California, San Francisco Health System, for example, has “patient education” information that shares these guidelines.
“Yes, it is strongly recommended that all patients on the transplant list be fully vaccinated prior to transplant,” the page states.
It added: “Once a person is immunosuppressed at the time of transplantation, the response to the vaccine will be less robust than before.”
That page also says, “We strongly encourage all family and household members living with eligible transplant recipients to get vaccinated, including booster doses. Transplant recipients are likely to have a suboptimal response to the vaccine, so the best way to protect all close contacts is to be fully vaccinated.”
In another example, the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, Marylandsays on its website that it “understands that transplant patients — both those who have already been transplanted and those still awaiting transplant — have specific questions about the COVID-19 vaccine.”
He shares the following frequently asked questions: “Should transplant patients be vaccinated?”
His answer is, “Yes. We encourage transplant recipients to receive the COVID-19 vaccine when possible.”
Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Massachusetts shares this note on its website: “Like most other transplant programs across the country, the COVID-19 vaccine is one of several vaccines and lifestyle choices required for patients awaiting a solid organ transplant.”
It added: “Transplant candidates must also receive seasonal flu and hepatitis B vaccines, adhere to other healthy habits, and demonstrate that they can commit to taking the necessary post-transplant medications.”