Ohio woman with stage 4 liver disease denied lifesaving transplant surgery over vax requirement


An Ohio woman was denied a lifesaving liver transplant due to her not being vaccinated against the coronavirus.

“I don’t think they do care,” Michelle Vitullo told WJW, after the Cleveland Clinic indefinitely cancelled her liver transplant surgery. “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.”

Michelle has been battling stage 4 liver disease for years and had been receiving care from doctors at the Cleveland Clinic, the outlet reported. She and her husband of 47 years, Jim Vitullo, say they made sweeping changes to their lives in order for Michelle to receive the care.  

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“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,”  Jim recounted.

After extensive testing, they found that their daughter, Angela Green, was a match to Michelle, which elated the family. 

Michelle’s health was stabilized and a surgery date for the end of September was set. But that all soon changed.  

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“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 family is against getting the vaccine, citing religious reasons and previous health problems. 

“We’ve heard of adverse reactions like blood clotting and heart problems,” added Angela,  “Those are not supposed to happen from a vaccine and we don’t feel comfortable taking on that many risks.”

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“To us, it’s a big mistake. It’s against our beliefs,” Jim added.

Two of the Cleveland area’s largest hospital systems, the Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals, require patients be vaccinated against the virus ahead of an organ transplant, WJW previously reported. 

Michelle and her family are now searching for another hospital to perform the surgery. 

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A similar story recently unfolded in Colorado, where a woman with stage 5 renal failure was denied a kidney transplant due to her and her donor being unvaccinated.

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