North Carolina man who needs kidney transplant will not get it because he refuses to get COVID vaccine

An unvaccinated North Carolina man who needs a life-saving kidney transplant – and has been offered an organ by 100 people – has been denied surgery by doctors because he refuses to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

Chad Carswell, 38, strongly believes that getting the vaccine should be a choice and does not think it’s very effective in preventing infection.

‘I’ve had COVD twice so I’ve developed natural antibodies,’ the Air Force veteran told DailyMail.com on Sunday when asked about his reasons for refusing the shot.

‘A lot of scientists say I’m more safe from my natural antibodies. It’s more to do with the fact that they’re trying to force you to do something, ‘he said.

Carswell has had six heart attacks and is a double amputee. His kidney is operating at four percent capacity and he undergoes dialysis – a process that removes toxins from the blood, typically removed by healthy kidneys – three times a week.

About 100 people have offered to donate a kidney to him, he said, but he can not get a transplant at Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem, which requires transplant candidates to be vaccinated because they are at high risk for severe illness.

‘Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist’s policy follows the current standard of care in the United States, which is to vaccinate all patients on waiting lists or being evaluated for transplant,’ the hospital said in a statement.

Carswell’s case echoes the travails faced by a gravely ill 31-year-old father-of-two in Massachusetts who was taken off the donor list for a heart transplant at a Boston hospital because he ‘does not believe’ in the COVID vaccine.

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Chad Carswell, 38, strongly believes that getting the vaccine should be a choice and does not believe it to be very effective in preventing infection

Chad Carswell, 38, strongly believes that getting the vaccine should be a choice and does not believe it to be very effective in preventing infection

Carswell had six heart attacks, is a double amputee, and undergoes dialysis three times a week that he says leaves him exhausted

Carswell had six heart attacks, is a double amputee, and undergoes dialysis three times a week that he says leaves him exhausted

Staff at Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist hospital in Winston-Salem urged him to get the vaccine so he could have his surgery.  Most hospitals in the US do not allow unvaccinated transplant candidates to undergo surgery

Staff at Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist hospital in Winston-Salem urged him to get the vaccine so he could have his surgery. Most hospitals in the US do not allow unvaccinated transplant candidates to undergo surgery

Carswell is on disability and dabbles in real estate and in buying and selling cars. He is a former member of the Air Force and was a general manager at a car dealership before his kidney failure got worse.

Asked about his health, Carswell told DailyMail.com: ‘I’m still here so that’s really all that matters.’

He said he undergoes dialysis Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

‘Those days are pretty tough,’ he said. ‘It’s getting harder. Those days are getting longer. I get it first thing in the morning. I used to come home and take a rest and have time in the afternoon to function and do stuff, and now those days are pretty much washed. ‘

Carswell appears to have had COVID in September.

‘As soon as they did an X-ray of my chest he came in and told me it’s in bad shape that he’s really worried about me,’ he said in a Facebook post from a hospital bed.

In November, he posted a photo of three tubes of the veterinary formulation of Ivermectin, an anti-parasitic drug used in humans and animals in different doses.

He insisted he’s not changing his mind about the COVID-19 vaccine anytime soon.

The US Centers for Disease Control maintains that all three vaccines approved in the US are safe and effective and that everyone aged 5 and up should get one ‘as soon as possible.’

‘A lot of people think I’m anti-wax. I’m not anti-wax. I’m not-care-wax, ‘Carswell told DailyMail.com. ‘If you choose to get it, by all means, get it. If you choose not to get it, by all means, do not get it. ‘

'A lot of people think I'm anti-wax.  I'm not anti-wax.  I'm not-care-wax, 'Carswell told DailyMail.com

‘A lot of people think I’m anti-wax. I’m not anti-wax. I’m not-care-wax, ‘Carswell told DailyMail.com

The Air Force veteran told DailyMail.com that he fought for this country for his freedom to choose, which he's now exercising by not getting a COVID-19 vaccine

The Air Force veteran told DailyMail.com that he fought for this country for his freedom to choose, which he’s now exercising by not getting a COVID-19 vaccine

Carswell says he had COVID twice already and has enough natural immunity to protect him.  In November, he posted a photo of three tubes of the veterinary formulation of Ivermectin

Carswell says he had COVID twice already and has enough natural immunity to protect him. In November, he posted a photo of three tubes of the veterinary formulation of Ivermectin

Carswell said friends and local businesses raised money to fund his much-needed transplant, and that more than 100 people offered to donate one of their kidneys, according to WSCO.

Doctors and nurses at Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist have urged him to get the vaccine so he can get the surgery.

‘That’s when I politely told him there’s nothing to talk about,’ Carswell said. ‘It was not up for debate, I was not getting it. And he told me, “You know you’ll die if you do not get it,” and I told him I’m willing to die, ‘he told WSCO.

He added: ‘I was born free. I want the free. I’m not changing my mind. ‘

Carswell told DailyMail.com that Dr. Bob Stratta, who oversees the transplant team at Atrium Health, actually agreed with his reasons for not getting the vaccine.

‘He called me and said that I was a very intelligent man and that the reasonings that I had for not agreeing with everything, he agreed with 100 percent, and that if it were up to him, he would allow me to get it,’ he said.

Dr. Stratta did not immediately respond to requests for comment from DailyMail.com.

COVID-19, powered by the Omicron variant, is driving the daily American death toll higher than during last autumn’s Delta wave, with deaths likely to keep rising for days or even weeks.

US COVID deaths and infections are still up due to the more contagious Omicron variant

US COVID deaths and infections are still up due to the more contagious Omicron variant

In total there are 74,086,874 cases in the US as of Friday and 882,970 deaths.

The seven-day rolling average for daily new COVID-19 deaths in the US has been climbing since mid-November, reaching 2,390 on Friday and surpassing a September peak of 2,100 when Delta was the dominant variant.

Now Omicron is estimated to account for nearly all the virus circulating in the nation.

And even though it causes less severe disease for most people, the fact that it is more transmissible means more people are falling ill and dying.

Carswell says he’s looking into other hospitals for his transplant, but new rules requiring transplant candidates to get jabbed are popping up everywhere.

‘I’ve been told there’s one in Texas and one in Florida, and then I got told that one in Florida changed their policy last week,’ he told DailyMail.com.

‘I’ve been told multiple times there was one in Texas that does not and then I got told there was one in Nebraska that does not.’

Carswell is on disability and dabbles in real estate and in buying and selling cars.  He is a former member of the Air Force and was a general manager at a car dealership before his kidney failure got worse

Carswell is on disability and dabbles in real estate and in buying and selling cars. He is a former member of the Air Force and was a general manager at a car dealership before his kidney failure got worse

Carswell has posted on his Facebook page about news coverage of his story multiple times

Carswell has posted on his Facebook page about news coverage of his story multiple times

Carswell says his mom, dad, brother and close friends support his decision to remain unvaccinated.

He says his religion keeps him motivated to stand his ground.

‘I was told a long time ago that you gotta stand for something,’ he said. ‘God tells you 360 times in the Bible, “Do not fear.”‘

Carswell has posted on his Facebook page about news coverage of his story multiple times.

‘This journey is not about me I’ve said it 1k times over if it was I would have quit a long time ago. It’s about the countless messages I get telling me I help and this journey helps them, ‘he wrote in a post on Friday.

Last week, DJ Ferguson, who has a hereditary heart condition that causes his lungs and heart to fill with blood and fluid, was denied the life-saving heart transplant by Boston Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School.

DJ Ferguson, 31 (pictured) has a hereditary heart condition that causes his lungs and heart to fill with blood and fluid without intervention from intravenous medication.  He has been denied a life-saving heart transplant because he refuses to get vaccinated against COVID-19

DJ Ferguson, 31 (pictured) has a hereditary heart condition that causes his lungs and heart to fill with blood and fluid without intervention from intravenous medication. He has been denied a life-saving heart transplant because he refuses to get vaccinated against COVID-19

Ferguson's family is considering moving him to another hospital, but he may not be able to be moved in his condition

Ferguson’s family is considering moving him to another hospital, but he may not be able to be moved in his condition

The hospital said it removed Ferguson from the donor list because all transplant recipients need to get the vaccine in order to ‘create both the best chance for successful surgery and also the patient’s survival after transplantation.’

However, Ferguson’s father, David, said getting vaccinated is ‘kind of against his basic principles’ and that his son ‘does not believe in it.’

‘I think my boy is fighting pretty damn courageously and he has integrity and principles he really believes in and that makes me respect him all the more … It’s his body. It’s his choice. ‘

The hospital, which has a list of protocols for transplant candidates that includes a ban on lifestyle choices like smoking and alcohol, said requiring the COVID vaccine is common at many medical centers throughout the country.

The mortality rate for transplant recipients who fall ill with COVID is more than 20 percent, according to UCHealth.

After outcry from his family, the hospital agreed to perform open heart surgery to fit a pump that will keep him alive for another five years.

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