Transplant Candidates

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When news broke recently that a Denver transplant center disqualified a candidate for transplantation because she was not vaccinated for Covid-19, some Michigan residents asked how this might affect patients in our state.

From the donation perspective, both the vaccinated and unvaccinated are eligible to donate at the end of life. Vaccination status has no bearing on deceased organ and tissue donation.

On the transplant patient side, Gift of Life Michigan does not determine eligibility for transplant for any patients. That decision is ultimately made by the transplant hospitals. Gift of Life Michigan is responsible for the recovery of organs and tissue from deceased donors and maintaining the Michigan Organ Donor Registry.

“Our goal is to provide organs for transplant centers to put into their patients. We don’t make decisions about who those transplant recipients are,” said Dorrie Dils, CEO of Gift of Life Michigan. “Transplant centers independently decide who meets the qualifications for them to transplant.”

“We know that patients who have had transplants and get Covid have not done very well,” Dils added. “In some instances it’s been fatal.”

Gift of Life Michigan’s purpose is to honor life through donation. We work to extend life through organ and tissue donation.

“The goal of someone who gives the Gift of Life, as well as the transplant procedure itself, is for a successful outcome,” Dils said. “They want people’s lives to be extended or saved because they received the Gift of Life, and there are several screenings and requirements for transplantations. And all of those, at their core, are about having a successful outcome.”

The Michigan Medicine blog offers additional context on how Covid-19 vaccination has offered critical protection to transplant patients.

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