Cleveland Clinic Delays Ohio Man’s Kidney Transplant Days Before Surgery Over Unvaccinated Donor

An assistant of surgeon XXX prepares a kidney for a renal transplantation on patient Juan Benito Druet at La Paz hospital in Madrid on February 28, 2017 . Doctors in Spain performed 4,818 transplants on 2016, including 2,994 kidney transplants, according to the health ministry's National Transplant Organisation (ONT). That …
PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP/Getty Images

A vaccinated Ohio man who is in dire need of a new kidney is having his surgery delayed due to the Cleveland Clinic’s new policy requiring coronavirus vaccinations for organ transplant recipients and donors.

After more than a year of pain, tests, and finally finding a match, Mike Ganim was just days away from getting a new kidney before the Cleveland Clinic announced that patients on the transplant list — as well as living donors — are now required to be vaccinated against the Chinese coronavirus, according to a report by News 5 Cleveland.

Ganim, 52, who was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease when he was 27, had his health turn for the worse in March 2020 when he developed a blood clot that sent him to the hospital. That’s when doctors at the Cleveland Clinic told him there was no time to waste, and that he needed a kidney transplant.

“The kidneys were so profound with cysts that they just pressed and pressed and pressed on his main vein and it bottlenecked it and it went all the way down into his leg,” Ganim’s wife, Debi Ganim, explained.

It reportedly took months for Ganim to get onto the donor list, but he was eventually able to make it on in October 2020. Later, Ganim found a match — Debi’s friend, Sue George — and after some additional testing over the summer, the surgery was finally scheduled for Wednesday.

But then on Friday — just five days before the operation — the Cleveland Clinic called Ganim to inform him that his surgery was being put on hold because George isn’t vaccinated against the coronavirus, Debi told WOIO-TV.

George, who is not vaccinated due to religious and medical reasons, told News 5 Cleveland that she doesn’t have anything against the doctors they have worked with, as she knows “their hands are tied, it’s just coming from upper management.”

“The clinic is making what I feel is a big mistake,” she said. “They’re putting this vaccination ahead of saving somebody’s life. I’m willing to give a body part, a kidney to this man. And they are not going to do it because I’m not taking a shot. That makes no sense.”

Debi reportedly said that her husband’s team is trying to come up with another solution — such has George undergoing surgery at another hospital, and then flying her kidney to the Cleveland Clinic.

“I’m just so afraid,” Debi said. “I’m so afraid all over again. I mean we were crying and crying so many tears of joy and gratefulness over this happening, and now it’s the opposite. I’m just so afraid.”

In an email to Breitbart News, the Cleveland Clinic issued the following statement:

The health and safety of our patients is our top priority. Cleveland Clinic has recently developed safety protocols for solid organ transplantation that require COVID-19 vaccination to be an active transplant candidate or living donor. Vaccination is particularly important in these patients for their safety. Living donation for organ transplantation has been a life-saving treatment, but it is not without risks to the donor. For the living donor, preventing COVID-19 infection around the time of their surgery and recovery is crucial. We continually strive to minimize risk to our living donors, and vaccination is an important component to ensure the safest approach and optimal outcomes for donors.

“For organ transplantation using a living donor, which involves the living donor undergoing a scheduled surgery, we are requiring COVID-19 vaccination for both donor and recipient before we can proceed with the surgery, for the safety of both,” the Clinic added.

The Cleveland Clinic did not respond to Breitbart News’ specific inquiry regarding whether it will cancel Ganim’s kidney transplant operation scheduled for Wednesday.

The news follows a report of Colorado’s UCHealth refusing a transplant surgery for a woman suffering from stage five renal failure and in dire need of a new kidney, because both she and her donor are unvaccinated.

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Facebook and Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.

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