A Melbourne mother has been refused a heart transplant because she has not been vaccinated against Covid-19, despite it having an exemption. Vicki Derderian’s heart failed in 2020, requiring the use of a ventricular assist device (VAD) to keep blood flowing throughout her body.
The mother of two, who insists she is not an anti-vaxxer, claimed her heart issue made her “think twice” about getting the vaccine. While cases of myocarditis and pericarditis following Covid-19 vaccines are rare, they can be serious, which Ms. Derderian deemed acceptable.
She slammed Victoria’s Department of Health and Human Services for denying her the lifesaving surgery, claiming she’s basically been told “no jab, no heart”. “The hospital stance at the moment is no jab, no heart. I’m ready to be on the heart transplant list because medically I’m stable to be on it. But unfortunately, because of these mandates, it has interfered with patient-doctor relationships,” she told Channel 9’s, Today Show.
“Patients like myself, we’re being pushed into a corner and coerced to take something that goes against what we believe in. Or not receive lifesaving treatment. And also for doctors as well, they are forced to implement this on their patients otherwise they’ll lose their jobs.” Former Deputy Chief Heath Officer Dr. Nick Coatsworth stated while he empathizes with Ms. Derderian’s case, he “stands by the rules”.
“From a transplant physician’s point of view… the biggest risk to you when we hit your immune system like that if you get Covid-19 without having the vaccine, then there’s a really significant risk that you’ll die and that organ will die with you,” Dr. Coatsworth told the show.
“And we don’t want that to happen to you and we certainly don’t want it to happen to the family who made that sacred donation. So it is such a complex area. I don’t envy your decision, but I do stand by the rules the transplant physicians have made here.”
Today Show host Karl Stefanovic joined in. “So Nick, doctors are now deciding not to treat someone because of the chance of getting COVID-19 in a hospital, are we stopping treating people now?” “On the contrary Karl,” Dr. Coatsworth hit back. “This is an active treatment decision by the medical community. This hasn’t changed during COVID-19.
“I know there’s a lot of greys in Covid-19 Karl, a lot of greys. You and I discussed them last week on this show. This is black and white. Unfortunately, we have to try and convince people like Vicki and John, we’ve got to do our best to convince them. If we fail ultimately that means the organ isn’t transplanted.”
He also asked Ms. Derderian to rethink having the vaccination, stating the chance of problems is “very, very small compared to all that you’ve been through so far”.
“But from my heart, I hope that you will be able to work with them and perhaps receive that vaccine. If I was in your position I’d receive it because I think it’s the safest thing to do. I think it’s the safest thing to do. I know you don’t agree with me. I respect that decision. But please, please reconsider.” Ms. Derderian stood firm, stating that if she were to contract Covid, there are treatments available.