Michelle Vitullo was denied a liver transplant becuase she refused to receive her Covid-19 vaccination (Pictures: Facebook/WJW)
A 65-year-old woman was denied a life-saving transplant for her stage 4 liver disease because she refuses to get the Covid-19 vaccine.
Having battled this diagnosis for years, Michelle Vitullo’s liver is permanently damaged and many of its cells turned into scar tissue.
Michelle has been receiving treatment for her ailment at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio since 2019, but the clinic says she needs the Covid-19 shot if she wants the transplant, as the surgery would weaken her immune system.
The family was thrilled to learn her daughter Angela Green was an exact match. After extensive testing, their doctors were ready to remove part of Angela’s liver and use it to save her mother, but the surgery was called off less than two weeks later.
Michelle Vitullo was ready for her liver transplant when medics at the Cleveland Clinic reversed their decision due to the fact that she is unvaccinated (Picture: WJW)
‘We were told to get ready,’ Green told WJW. ‘Then we get the news we were taken off the list and we can’t do it without the vaccine and it was heartbreaking.’
The entire Vitullo family is against the Covid-19 vaccine for religious and medical reasons.
‘To us, it’s a big mistake. It’s against our beliefs,’ said Michelle’s husband, Jim Vitullo.
‘We’re heard of adverse reactions like blood clotting and heart problems,’ Angela added. ‘Those are not supposed to happen from a vaccine and we don’t feel comfortable taking on that many risks.’
Michelle and Jim Vitullo are against the Covid-19 vaccination due to religious and medical reasons (Picture: WJW)
The family was already making many sacrifices to try and get Michelle the transplant she needed, including her husband Jim quitting his job because of all the visits required.
‘They had us sign an agreement that we would live within one hour of the Cleveland Clinic, I had to quit my job because of all the visits, ended up sleeping literally hundreds of days in my car in the carport there because of the expense,’ he said.
In a statement, the Cleveland Clinic said it recently began requiring organ donors and transplant candidates to be vaccinated against Covid-19.
‘Vaccination is particularly important in these patients for their safety,’ the clinic said. ‘For the living donor, preventing Covid-19 infection around the time of a surgical operation is crucial. For the transplant candidate, in addition to a major operation, medications taken after an organ transplant weaken a person’s immune response.
The Vitullo family hopes they can find another hospital willing to help Michelle receive the attention she needs (Picture: WJW)
‘Serious complications of the coronavirus are most likely to develop in those who have weakened immune systems, as their body has a reduced ability to fight and recover from infections.’
The Vitullo family now hopes to find another hospital willing to perform the surgery.
‘It’s just wrong,’ said Jim. ‘How can you do that to somebody?’
Michelle and her daughter began to cry when they thought about what might occur if she’s unable to get the liver transplant.
‘I don’t think they do care,’ said Michelle. ‘I feel bad because my grandkids, they say, “Grandma we’re praying for you to get better”. It breaks my heart because now I have to tell them I may not get better.’
The family still refuses to receive the Covid-19 vaccine.
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