Will NJ man in need of transplant be denied over vaccine mandate? (Opinion)
We received a heartfelt email from a listener whose husband is a transplant candidate here in New Jersey.
He was on a waiting list for a kidney transplant at both Robert Wood Johnson and Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. They just received a letter last week from Johns Hopkins informing them that in order to get a life-saving kidney transplant, both the donor and the recipient need to be vaccinated for COVID.
Obviously, they were devastated. They immediately reached out to RWJ and inquired about their protocols concerning transplant surgeries. The response they received was that "RWJ does not CURRENTLY require both parties to be vaccinated for COVID-19." They are very concerned that Robert Wood Johnson may go the way of several other medical centers and deny lifesaving surgery over the vaccine.
A woman in Colorado had a match and had her "angel" donor ready to go, but the hospital denied her due to both not having been vaccinated. This is ridiculous and could happen to many patients here in New Jersey waiting for this life-saving procedure.
What other treatments with hospitals deny without this vaccine? How about cancer treatments. These are very scary and desperate times for many people needing medical care.
Let's hope that RWJ doesn't make the same callous and stupid decision to deny medical care over a vaccine that many feel they don't need or that could cause them harm. This couple could be any one of us here in New Jersey and they just want a fair shot at getting him back to health.
Tammy Pearson wanted me to share her husband Scott's story in case you'd like to know more and maybe can help.
Scott Pearson is 54 years old and lives with his wife Tammy in Howell, NJ. Scott was diagnosed with IgA nephropathy in 2011, a chronic kidney disease.
A routine physical for his CDL license got the attention of Scott’s doctor prior to his diagnosis. Scott’s protein levels in his urine were elevated and his doctor suggested he investigate it.
Scott’s primary care doctor suggested a local nephrologist. After some initial testing it was recommended that he have a biopsy. This biopsy revealed the IgA.
Over the next few years Scott managed his CKD with medication and guidance from his doctor. There was a bit of trial and error in the beginning. Unfortunately, one of the medications caused an issue with Scott’s right eye. This led him to a retina specialist.
After testing with the retina doctor it was determined that Scott had developed Central Serous Retinopathy (CSR). This was beginning to cause issues with his sight in the right eye. The treatment for this condition is 2 needles in the eye, once a month. Scott has been treated, successfully, for CSR since 2014.
During this time Scott, along with his nephrologist, successfully managed keeping his kidney function (while quite low) stable.
Scott’s next surprise came in 2018 when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. His urologist was very confident that it was caught early. So much so that he told Scott that any treatment could be put off for a few months.
Scott being very body conscious and mindful of his health, did not want to delay. So, on July 5, 2018, he has surgery to remove his prostate. The surgery went very well, and the pathology came back showing no PSA. Scott discussed his kidney disease with his urologist, and they thought following up with radiation may be a good idea.
From there Scott met with a oncology radiologist and a course of treatment was determined. Scott knew one day he may need the lifesaving gift of a kidney. He didn’t want anything compromising that gift.
After two years of clear PSA, Scott was encouraged by his nephrologist to speak with a dialysis nurse. Scott’s numbers were starting to falter, and his nephrologist wanted to educate him to the possibilities. Scott learned a lot from the nurse and her staff. He has incorporated healthier eating into his lifestyle to help maintain his kidney health.
The nurse encouraged him to pursue being put on the kidney transplant list. Scott’s numbers were reaching a point that made this a possible reality.
Scott reached out to Robert Wood Johnson’s kidney transplant team. After several meetings, several test and more blood draws, he was finally approved to be on the transplant list in July of 2020!
With this great relief also came a new set of nerves; How does this work? Can we find a donor? Can we keep Scott off of dialysis long enough to go straight to donation? That brings us to today.
How you can help
Tammy continues to search for Scott’s Angel.
If you would be open to taking the first step toward screening to see if you could be Scott’s match, please fill out this form and state Scott Pearson as the intended recipient.
Scott is blood type O and while his ideal match would be the same, it is not the deciding factor. All types are welcome and if you don’t know what you are that will be your first test.
All medical expenses are paid in full through Scott’s insurance.
You do NOT need to live in New Jersey to be Scott’s lifesaving donor.
Your testing can be done locally to your home. You also set the schedule - it’s all in your hands and control.
Once you do, please email Jami Abes at Robert Wood Johnson Barnabas Health:
Or call her at 732-253-3338
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Dennis Malloy. Any opinions expressed are Dennis Malloy's own.