Alberta Transplant Candidate Will Die as a Result
On April 14, 2023, Ms. Lewis’ legal counsel sent a demand letter on her behalf to her transplant doctors and AHS providing them with scientific proof that she has robust natural immunity to Covid-19. A highly sensitive blood test revealed the presence of antibodies which showed that she had Covid-19 in September 2021, and again more recently. She requested that as a result of her natural immunity to Covid-19, the transplant team and AHS exempt her from the Covid-19 vaccine policy, and reinstate her to the high priority (Status 2) organ transplant list so that she can have a chance to receive life-saving surgery.
On April 21, 2023, her transplant doctors responded to her letter. In their response, they “respectfully decline[d] Ms. Lewis’ request to be reinstated to Status 2 on the transplant waitlist,” as they continue to require Covid-19 vaccination prior to transplant surgery. They failed to provide any reasoning as to why they would not accept Ms. Lewis’ robust natural immunity to Covid-19 as an alternative to her receiving Covid-19 vaccination prior to her transplant. They also failed to clarify how many doses they currently require as part of their Covid-19 vaccine requirement, despite Ms. Lewis asking for that clarification.
On April 25, 2023, AHS replied to her demand letter and took the position that the decision to require Covid-19 vaccination was made by her treating physicians, and did not directly respond to whether or not it would exempt her from its Covid-19 vaccine requirement for transplant candidates. In its response, AHS took the position that it has “no formal AHS policy in place relating to the vaccination of transplant patients”, yet the transplant doctors’ sworn evidence in Ms. Lewis’ lawsuit confirmed that AHS required all transplant candidates to receive the Covid-19 vaccine prior to their transplant as of November 2021. That same evidence revealed that a transplant doctor told Ms. Lewis that she would not be eligible for a transplant “until either the pandemic was over or she was vaccinated.”
On May 5, 2023, the World Health Organization announced that “COVID-19 is now an established and ongoing health issue which no longer constitutes a public health emergency of international concern.” The Covid-19 pandemic is over, yet the transplant doctors have changed their position and failed to reinstate her to Status 2 where she will be eligible for a transplant.
“AHS and the transplant doctors’ failure to recognize Ms. Lewis’ natural immunity to Covid-19 as an acceptable alternative to Covid-19 vaccination and reinstate her to the high-priority transplant list is truly shocking,” states Allison Pejovic, counsel for Ms. Lewis. “If the WHO has declared that the pandemic is over, the CDC has publicly acknowledged that infection-induced immunity from to Covid-19 infection has reduced hospitalizations and deaths in the US, and Ms. Lewis has proven she has strong antibodies against Covid-19 from two previous infections, there is no scientific basis upon which to deny her a transplant,” Ms. Pejovic continued. “Canadians ought to have confidence that their medical system is there to preserve their health and save their life when they need it most. AHS’ and the transplant doctors’ treatment of Ms. Lewis is deplorable.”
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