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Unvaccinated teen
Yulia Hicks was adopted from Ukraine by an American family and cannot get surgery because of her vaccination status.

Unvaccinated teen rejected by U.S. hospital for life-saving surgery

An adopted Ukrainian teen has been denied life-saving surgery by Duke University Medical Center officials because she is unvaccinated against COVID-19. The controversial decision by the hospital has left the girl and her family wondering if she’ll get treatment needed to live.

Yulia Hicks, 14, who suffers from a rare genetic kidney condition called Senior Loken syndrome, adopted from Ukraine nearly two years ago by Chrissy and Lee Hicks of North Carolina.

Senior Loken syndrome (SLS) is rare and mainly affects the kidneys and eyes and causes nephronophthisis, a disease that slowly impairs the function of the kidneys, according to the Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center.

Just 1,000 individuals in the United States are estimated to have SLS. Symptoms include chronic kidney disease, delays in motor or mental development, hypertension, and visual impairments, among others.

The teenager requires a life-saving transplant, according to her medical team. The family in November stated that Duke refused to place her on a waiting list because the teen had not been vaccinated against Covid.

The hospital staff has shown “no sympathy whatsoever,” Chrissy Hicks said told Fox News.

unvaccinated teen

The CDC has changed its guidance on the vacines since they have been released, now saying that they may not prevent covid but will lesson the effects of the virus once contracted. The vaccine’s effects on children have come under scrutiny by medical professionals and parents.

“It’s just strong-arming us: give her the vaccine, and you’ll get the transplant,” Hicks said.

The adoptive mother also explained that her daughter has previously been infected with COVID-19, which she believes has granted her natural immunity.

Critics of Duke point out that the hospital allows doctors, nurses and other medical staff and employees to opt-out of the vaccine for various reasons. The hospital emergency room also does not require vaccination of patients seeking medical treatment.

Multiple studies have shown that natural immunity grants far superior protection against COVID-19 when compared to the protection provided by vaccines, although some scientists and officials within the Biden administration disagree.

However, Hicks told Fox on Friday that hospital officials had directed her to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations regarding kidney transplants and COVID-19 vaccines, alleging that the surgery would be too risky if Yulia was not up to date with her shots.

“They said the CDC recommendation had been updated at the end of October, and they had to go by the recommendation, and if she didn’t get the vaccine she wouldn’t be getting a transplant at Duke,” Hicks said.

Hicks recorded conversations with the hospital in which health officials explained that the virus has now mutated, meaning that Yulia’s natural immunity “is not as good as if you had natural immunity, plus vaccination.”

“We’ve been dealing with these doctors from Duke for at least two years because our dialysis goes through Duke as well. We do it at home for Yulia,” the mother explained. “But the two doctors who denied us because of the COVID vaccine, we saw them for an eight-hour workup, and that’s when they told us it was going to be required. Then we kind of pushed back a little bit. They put her in front of the committee on November 10th.”

However, their daughter was rejected “solely because of the vaccine,” according to her adoptive parents.

According to its official website, Duke Children’s Hospital & Health Center is “ranked among the top children’s hospitals nationally in nine specialties by U.S. News & World Report and provides care for thousands of pediatric patients every year.”

The Hicks, who are parents to 11 children in total, three of which are adopted, said they have retained a lawyer to help them fight the decision by Duke and are now searching for a medical center that will perform the life-saving transplant on their daughter without requiring that she be vaccinated against COVID-19.

In a statement to Fox News, Duke Health officials said “our hearts go out to all families coping with the serious illness of a loved one” and that it is “committed to making organ transplant accessible to as many eligible patients as possible,” but declined to comment on the individual case.

–Wire services 


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