Appearing on “Fox & Friends Weekend” on Saturday morning to discuss the dire medical dilemma their family is facing, the parents of a teenage girl who is not vaccinated against COVID-19 revealed that their daughter has been unable to move forward with the kidney transplant she needs at Duke University Hospital in Durham, North Carolina.
Chrissy Hicks, the mom of 14-year-old Yulia Hicks, recounted her exchange about the issue with a medical official.
“I said, ‘So basically you’re telling us if she does not get the vaccine, then she’s not getting a transplant,'” Chrissy Hicks said. “Other [the medical employee] said, ‘Yes, that is the one thing that is holding us up.'”
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Chrissy and Lee Hicks of North Carolina adopted their daughter Yulia from Ukraine nearly two years ago.
The couple has eight biological children and three who are adopted, the program noted.
The girl suffers from a rare degenerative kidney condition known as Senior Loken Syndrome, which requires a transplant, according to reports.
Though she is not vaccinated against COVID, she has had the coronavirus — so the parents believe she’s protected by natural immunities.
Dad Lee Hicks said on Saturday morning, “We’ve been up front the entire time we’ve been seen at Duke, for the last two years, that we were not comfortable with the vaccine — with the COVID-19 vaccine. And so they knew all along that we were not comfortable with this.”
The dad added, “And it wasn’t a requirement. It was … a recommendation, according to [the doctors] at first — until the very end.”
“They knew all along that we were not comfortable” with the COVID-19 vaccine, the parents said.
Lee Hicks said that their daughter received a “nine-hour [medical] work-up” in October.
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“And that’s when they [the doctors and hospital officials] decided or told us that this was going to be a highly recommended-slash-requirement for her to get a vaccine before she would get the transplant.”
He added, “So the phone call … That’s when [the official] said it’s not a requirement, it’s [a] recommendation, but she cannot get the transplant without the vaccine.”
Health officials “said it’s not a requirement, it’s [a] recommendation, but she cannot get the transplant without the vaccine.”
Chrissy Hicks also said on “Fox & Friends Weekend,” “We have retained a lawyer … to help us fight Duke [Hospital].”
She added, “But we don’t want Yulia’s life caught up with the litigation. We’re hoping that a medical center can step forward and say, ‘Come here, we’ll give you the transplant without the vaccination.'”
The parents have set up a website for their daughter, they said — YuliaGrace.com.
“If there’s a medical center out there that will take [our daughter] as a patient, we would love for them to reach out to us,” Chrissy Hicks added.
The mom also said, “We have 11 children. So it’s not really financially accessible for us to go on our own out of state to [get] the surgery.”
“Hicks, who is originally from Ukraine, already had COVID and has recovered.”
Duke Children’s Hospital & Health Center, it notes on its website, is ranked among the top children’s hospitals nationally in nine specialties by US News & World Report; it provides care for thousands of pediatric patients every year.
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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 coping with the serious illness of a loved one, and we are committed to making organ transplant accessible to as many eligible patients as possible,” the 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 organ transplant is a complex medical determination informed by many health factors to ensure the best outcomes. These determinations 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 said further, “To protect patient privacy, we cannot comment on individual cases.”
Alex Berenson, a former New York Times investigative reporter, shared on his Substack this past Wednesday that the 14-year-old girl refused a kidney transplant at Duke University Hospital because she was not vaccinated for COVID-19, as Outkick reported.
Outkick noted in his article that “according to Berenson, Yulia Hicks would need to get the vaccine before the hospital would perform her surgery. Hicks, who is originally from Ukraine, already had COVID and has recovered.” Berenson spoke to the girl’s parents.
“Yes, it is strongly recommended all patients on the transplant list be fully vaccinated prior to transplantation.”
Many hospital systems around the country either recommend or require that patients on transplant lists be fully vaccinated prior to transplantation.
The University of California San Francisco health system, for instance, contains “patient education” information that shares that guidance.
“Yes, it is strongly recommended all patients on the transplant list be fully vaccinated prior to transplantation,” the site says.
It adds, “Once a person is immunosuppressed at the time of transplant, response to a vaccine will be less robust than before.”
That site also says, “We strongly encourage that all eligible family and household members living with transplant recipients be vaccinated, including booster doses. Transplant recipients are likely to have a suboptimal response to the vaccine, so the best way for all close contacts to protect them is to be fully vaccinated.”
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In another example, the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland, says on its website that it “understands that transplant patients — both those already transplanted and those awaiting one — have specific questions related to the COVID-19 vaccine.”
It shares the following FAQ: “Should transplant patients get vaccinated?”
Its answer: “Yes. We encourage transplant recipients to get the COVID-19 vaccine when possible.”
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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 behaviors that are required for patients awaiting solid organ transplant.”
It adds, “Transplant candidates must also receive the seasonal influenza and hepatitis B vaccines, follow other healthy behaviors, and demonstrate they can commit to taking the required medications following transplant.”
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