The doctors knew for months the donor is not vaccinated and always told her it isn’t a problem. The clinic won’t grandfather in the transplant.
Mike Ganim will not receive a kidney on October 13 because the Cleveland Clinic implemented a new policy right before the surgery:
Debi Ganim said they were informed on October 8 that Cleveland Clinic implemented a new safety policy that required both living donors and organ recipients to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Mike is fully vaccinated, but the donor is not.
“It made us feel like we were back to square one,” said Debi. “I’ve been terrified. Sometimes I have my moments that I don’t think about it, but it comes back, and I think, ‘What’s going to happen?'” she said, with her voice cracking with emotion.
The clinic just implemented the policy. The surgery has been on the books for months.
A doctor told Ganim two years ago he needed a kidney because of advanced polycystic kidney disease.
Doctors could not find a donor so Debi asked on Facebook:
Weeks later, Debi received a message on Facebook. “Oh my gosh. I cannot believe we are finally reading the words, ‘I am your match,’” Debi recalled.
The message was from a longtime acquaintance, Sue George, whose daughter is a former third grade student of Debi’s, some 13 years ago, but they had kept in touch over the years.
“I am your stranger!” George told her with a laugh. “But I just didn’t want to tell you, because I didn’t want to disappoint you, but I’m trying. I’m trying,” she told Debi.
Sue spent months going through preparation and pre-operation procedures. She told the doctors she did not have the vaccine. She said the doctors told her it was fine that she is not vaccinated:
“We were blindsided,” said George, who said that doctors knew all along that she was not vaccinated, and no one said that it would be a problem. George said that getting the vaccine now is not an option. “I don’t want to get the vaccine,” she explained. “I’ve got reasons — medical, religious, and also freedom.”
Debi and Mike Ganim are still hoping that there will be a way to proceed with transplant surgery, if perhaps, George undergoes her portion of the surgery at another hospital in Cleveland or Columbus.
“It’s just wrong in so many ways,” said Debi, of the Clinic’s decision to cancel Mike’s surgery. “All because of a policy that was just decided.”
Why just COVID? Why not anything else? I imagine being a transplant patient even the common cold could be dangerous. Why not require the flu shot and other vaccines?
Maybe they do, but still:
“The health and safety of our patients is our top priority. Cleveland Clinic has recently developed safety protocols for solid organ transplantation that require COVID-19 vaccination to be an active transplant candidate or living donor. Vaccination is particularly important in these patients for their safety.
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. 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.
For organ transplantation using a living donor, which involves the living donor undergoing a scheduled surgery, we are requiring COVID-19 vaccination for both donor and recipient before we can proceed with the surgery, for the safety of both.
The FDA-authorized vaccines have been determined to be safe and effective and are the best way to prevent severe illness and death from COVID-19.”
Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.