“I believe that my days are numbered as I continue to deteriorate in my GFR numbers,” Leilani Lutali said. GFR, or glomerular filtration rate, measures how well the kidneys are functioning in filtering out toxins and waste from the blood. A number of 60 or higher is considered normal. Stage 5 is characterized by GFR numbers below 15, where the kidneys have almost or completely stopped their functioning.
In September, the Colorado health system, UCHealth, denied the transplant due to the fact that she had not received a vaccine, Lutali said.
“I did reach out to the hospital to decide whether dialysis was an option. They said at this point the [vaccine] shot would not be required, but told me I was irresponsible in not getting it,” she said.
Lutali’s donor, Jaimee Fougner, expressed her outrage about the hospital’s decision. She previously said, “How can I sit here and allow them to murder my friend when I’ve got a perfectly good kidney and can save her life?”
The two met in Bible study less than a year ago.
“I want to start crying,” host Laura Ingraham said about seeing the two friends together. “That’s the most selfless thing, that’s incredible,” Ingraham said about Fougner’s willingness to donate her kidney.
Fougner said she was “stunned at the lack of compassion and consideration” in allowing Lutali to be the driver in her own care. “They’re holding my kidney hostage and she’s going to die because they won’t give it to her,” she said.
Ingraham asked if there was any justification or science behind the hospital’s decision.
Leilani said she proposed a number of remedies, including signing a medical waiver regarding not taking the vaccine.
Ingraham concluded that this sounded like “a classic case of discrimination.”
“I don’t know if people are smoking too much pot in Colorado, or what’s going on,” Ingraham said.
The health system released a statement that said, “For transplant patients who contract COVID-19, the mortality rate ranges from about 20% to more than 30%. This shows the extreme risk that COVID-19 poses to transplant recipients after their surgeries.”