A Victoria, Australia mother of two was denied the chance to undergo a lifesaving heart transplant because she refused to receive the COVID-19 shot, despite having a legitimate legal exemption.
After suffering a devastating heart failure in 2020, Vicki Derderian was forced to rely on a Ventricular Assist Device (VAD) in order to keep blood circulating throughout her body.
“Back in 2020, I had a very severe heart failure, which at the time my organs started shutting down. So I wasn’t ready for a transplant back then. So the only choice for me at that time was to go on a ventricular assist device, which is a mechanical pump that pumps blood throughout the body because my heart couldn’t,” Derderian told Channel 9’s Today Show.
“In order for me to do that, I had to undergo a very difficult procedure because these machines were inserted surgically. I was in intensive care for one and a half months. I was on life support because I couldn’t breathe. After being discharged from intensive care, I spent another three months in the hospital and also rehabilitation,” she continued.
Because of her condition, Ms. Derderian stated that she had to “think twice” about receiving the vaccine. She fears that the COVID-19 shot will make her situation even worse.
“I need to make this clear. I’m not an anti-vaxxer. I have taken all the necessary vaccinations to be as my work up towards heart transplant. But when it came to COVID-19, reading up on all the information and also knowing about my condition, I wanted to minimize risk as much as possible. Because, as you know, a heart transplant is not a walk-in-the-park operation. It’s very complicated and it has a lot of risks. And to face those risks on top of an unknown risk from a vaccination that has had partial approval, I had to think twice and it’s a very hard decision,” she said.
Derderian said she was told “no jab, no heart” by Victoria’s Department of Health and Human Services when they denied her access to the life-saving heart surgery.
She also said that doctors refused to treat her due to vaccination requirements that were being imposed by Victoria.
“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.”
“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,” she continued.
Dr. Nick Coatsworth, a former Deputy Chief Health Officer, has stated that while he understands Ms. Derderian’s situation, 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 said.
“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 of the transplant physicians have made here,” he continued.
Host Karl Stefanovic interrupted and asked the doctor, “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 responded. “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.”
Dr. Coatsworth advised Ms. Derderian to think again about having the vaccine, claiming there is a very small chance of serious side effects from the COVID-19 shot.
“I know that there’s a risk from the COVID-19 vaccine. It’s a very, very small risk compared to everything that you’ve been through so far with the VAD going in ICU, ICU after the transplant. All of those risks are actually higher than the COVID-19 risk. I know you’ve heard this before… but from my heart, I hope that you’ll be able to work with them [doctors] and perhaps receive that vaccine. If I [were] in your position, I’d receive it [vaccine] because I think it’s the safest thing to do. And I know you don’t agree with me, and I respect that decision, but please reconsider,” Dr. Coatsworth said.
Ms. Derderian refuted this and told the doctor, “In terms of risk, I am more higher risk of something from complications from VADs than any other one. And also, in terms of treatments, there are therapeutic treatments that are available to treat COVID. Should I have COVID?”