A North Carolina double amputee, Chad Carswell, said he’d rather die than get the COVID-19 vaccination required for his kidney transplant surgery. Carswell’s kidney operates at only 4% and more than 100 people have offered to donate their kidneys, with several businesses funding the surgery, but Carswell said he will not be vaccinated in order to get the kidney transplant needed to save his life.
Potential kidney donors are also required to get vaccinated as well.
The management at Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem said Carswell has undergone all the necessary tests needed for the surgery to be carried out, but that it is standard hospital policy for surgery patients to get vaccinated since their condition can nosedive critically without pre-existing immunity.
“Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist’s policy follows the current standard of care in the United States, which is to vaccinate all patients on waiting lists or being evaluated for transplant,” the hospital said. “We understand that some patients may not wish to be vaccinated. In this case, patients can opt to be evaluated at another transplant center.”
When asked if he would be changing his mind about the vaccination requirement to access the kidney transplant he very much needs, Carswell, said he is not changing his mind and that the issue is not up for debate.
“No sir, I was born free. I will die free. I’m not changing my mind,” Carswell said. “I’ve had conversations with my family and everybody who is close to me, and they know where I stand and there will not be a situation that occurs where I’ll change my mind on this topic.”
He said the doctors and nurses tried to convince him to get the vaccination to enable the scheduled surgery to proceed, but he stuck to his guns and would do no such thing.
“That’s when I politely told him there’s nothing to talk about,” Carswell said. “It wasn’t up for debate, I wasn’t getting it. And he told me, ‘You know you’ll die if you don’t get it,’ and I told him I’m willing to die.”
Carswell undergoes dialysis three times a week to keep him alive, but he stated that “without a kidney transplant, there’s no telling how much longer I’ll be here. I have to have a kidney to prolong my life.” He had done several heart surgeries before this time before the COVID-19 pandemic emerged, but he refuses to get vaccinated to make his much-needed kidney transplant possible.
He said he is searching for other hospitals that might be willing to do the surgery without vaccination.