A North Carolina family is appealing for help after their adopted 14-year-old daughter was refused a kidney transplant by Duke University hospital because she was not vaccinated against COVID-19.
Yulia Hicks was taken in by Lee and Chrissy Hicks in January 2021 from Ukraine. They knew she had a rare genetic kidney condition, Senior Loken Syndrome, which would eventually mean she required a transplant.
On November 11, however, they were told she was not eligible for Duke’s waiting list because she was not vaccinated against COVID.
‘There’s no sympathy whatsoever from any of them,’ said Chrissy Hicks.
‘It’s just strong arming us: give her the vaccine, and you’ll get the transplant.’
She said they had contacted a lawyer, but ‘can’t have her life hanging in the balance with litigation’ – and were seeking an alternative medical center.
The Hickses said Yulia had been infected previously, yet the hospital said that was not sufficient, and CDC guidelines require vaccinations for transplant patients.
‘They said the CDC recommendation had been updated at the end of October, and they had to go by the recommendation, and if she didn’t get the vaccine she wouldn’t be getting a transplant at Duke,’ said Chrissy Hicks, speaking to Tucker Carlson on Friday night.
Chrissy Hicks, mother of 14-year-old Yulia, appeared on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show on Friday night to appeal for help
‘We’ve been dealing with these doctors from Duke for at least two years, because our dialysis goes through Duke as well,’ she explained.
‘We do it at home for Yulia.
‘But the two doctors who denied us because of the COVID vaccine, we saw them for an eight-hour workup, and that’s when they told us it was going to be required.
‘Then we kind of pushed back a little bit.
‘They put her in front of the committee on November 10th.
‘She was rejected solely because of the vaccine that’s when we decided to do a conference call and get actual evidence of them telling us this.’
Carlson called the hospital’s decision ‘obviously unreasonable and viciously cruel.’
Chrissy Hicks recorded the phone call, in which the hospital explained why Yulia was being denied the transplant.
‘I can’t require you to do anything,’ a woman says. ‘I can recommend these things.
‘But if you don’t follow our recommendations then Yulia can’t be a transplant candidate here.
‘Based on number five, which is persistent non-adherence to medical dialysis treatment or medical recommendations, and also based on number 10 – which is medical risk factors that make the surgery unsafe.
‘And being unvaccinated to the CDC recommended vaccinations, based on her age, is part of that.’
Yulia Hicks, left, is a 14-year-old rescued orphan from Ukraine. She has been denied a life-saving kidney transplant because her parents will not have her vaccinated
Yulia Hicks was adopted in January 2021 by Lee and Chrissy Hicks, joining their large family
When the Hickses, devout Roman Catholics who have 11 children – three of them adopted – argued that Yulia had already had COVID and so was protected, the hospital staff pushed back.
‘The virus has continued to mutate,’ a man tells them.
‘So the natural immunity is not as good as if you had natural immunity, plus vaccination.’
Chrissy Hicks told Carlson that the hospital staff were not sympathetic, and had not even expressed condolences at not being able to help Yulia.
When the Hickses, devout Roman Catholics who have 11 children – three of them adopted – argued that Yulia had already had COVID and so was protected, the hospital staff pushed back
The mother of 11 said they hoped that another medical center may agree to help Yulia
Carlson said it was ‘so evil, it’s hard to digest it.’
The North Carolina mother said they have retained a lawyer, but in the meantime are hoping ‘that a medical center will come forward and let us know they will perform the transplant without the vaccine.’
‘We have retained a lawyer. Mike Yoder is his name,’ she said.
‘We can’t have her life hanging in the balance with litigation.
‘So we’re hoping that going on your show will give us exposure that a medical center will come forward and let us know they will perform the transplant without the vaccine.
‘We would love for them to reach out to us.
‘We’ve created a website, yuliagrace.com, contact us there, if there’s medical center that will help us.
‘We’ve also created – we have 11 children in our family. We are not financially able to go out of state to do this. Go to giftsendgo.com.
‘We’ve had an outpouring of help already. We are so grateful for people who have stepped forward,’ she said.
‘This comes down to: this is bigger than Yulia, so many families in the situation as Yulia, and we want to help other families.
‘There’s been a line drawn in the sand.
‘If we don’t stand up now for our medical freedoms, we don’t won’t be able to stand up soon.’
Julia’s case is not isolated.
Earlier this year, a 31-year-old Boston man, DJ Ferguson, was denied a heart transplant because he refused to be vaccinated against COVID.
Several weeks later a North Carolina man, Chad Carswell, 38, said he would rather die than be forced to get the COVID jab to receive the kidney transplant he needed.
Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist, the hospital where Carswell was hoping to receive his transplant, declined to comment on his case but a spokeswoman said the hospital’s vaccine policy is meant to protect transplant patients, who are at high risk for severe illness from COVID.
Last year, both Cleveland Clinic and University of Colorado hospitals refused to perform organ transplants for recipients who hadn’t been vaccinated.
Individual centers establish their own policies, but there are some common practices. Hospitals will typically require transplant candidates to abstain from smoking, and transplant recipients generally have to go through psychosocial evaluations.
They often have to be vaccinated against hepatitis B, commit to getting annual flu shots, and show they’re immune to measles.
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