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DALLAS, Texas (LifeSiteNews) – Colorado patients denied life-saving organ transplants due to their COVID vaccination status are now being welcomed in Texas by an organ donor foundation, a Dallas hospital, and Republican leaders, including Gov. Greg Abbott.

Dawn McLaughlin, a Colorado woman with polycystic kidney disease, had been informed last month by UCHealth in Aurora that she could not undergo her kidney transplant because she had not received the COVID-19 vaccine, CBS 4 reported. McLaughlin’s kidney doctor has advised her against the shot and she is “just following his advice,” McLaughlin said.

UCHealth nevertheless put her an inactive list for a transplant last month. McLaughlin’s kidneys have enlarged to 17 and 21 pounds and are “covered in cysts,” she told CBS 4.

McLaughlin’s story echoed that of another woman, Leilani Lutali, who was similarly “inactivated” from UCHealth’s kidney transplant list recently for turning down COVID-19 vaccination, despite suffering from stage five kidney disease and having found a willing donor.

UCHealth has said it implemented its vaccine policy because organ transplant patients have a 20 percent-30 percent chance of dying from COVID-19 . “Never mind that refusing the transplant — after the patients have waited years for their turn — would have close to a 100 percent chance of death,” noted Wesley J. Smith of National Review.

Since the news of the two Colorado women’s denial of care, the Texas-based Niklas Organ Donor Awareness Foundation has reached out to offer free housing and transportation to patients who have been rejected for organ transplants for not being vaccinated. The foundation contacted McLaughlin and has connected her with UT Southwestern, a major Dallas hospital that does not require COVID vaccination for transplants.

“We provide transportation and free apartments for families who need to travel to the Dallas/Fort Worth area for an organ transplant list. We give a place to live while they’re going through that process,” Rodney DeBaun, the foundation’s vice president, told CBS 4. “We can’t solve all their problems, but we’ll give you a free place to live. That’s one less thing they have to worry about.”

“It’s not up to the government to dictate whether you do, whether you don’t (get the vaccine),” he added in a statement to Fox News, saying the vaccines are a “personal choice.”

“If someone’s waiting for an organ transplant, if they don’t get a transplant, they’re going to die,” said DeBraun, himself a heart transplant recipient. “I’ve been given 28 years of life. My boys were 8 and 11 years old, and I’ve gotten to see my kids grow up. I now have grandkids.”

McLaughlin described the Niklas Foundation’s support as a miracle. “They reached out to me and said not only are we going to take care of getting you there and bringing your husband out to be with you, but we’re also going to bring out your donor and we’re going to give you a place to stay for a month rent free,” she said.

“You have to stay in that state for at least a month because when you get a transplant, it doesn’t work right away,” she explained. “You have to continue dialysis until the kidney starts functioning. You have to be watched closely. You’re back and forth, about three to four times a week, just for the testing and to make sure everything’s good.”

According to CBS 4, UT Southwestern requires a COVID-19 rapid test before surgery, but did not reject McLaughlin upon learning she was unvaccinated. “It’s a personal preference there. You have to sign a waiver and it says they recommend the vaccine for these reasons, but if you choose not to that’s your choice,” she said.

McLaughlin is currently in the process of transferring her medical records.

“I could have a kidney as a Christmas gift. That would be amazing.”

Texas leaders have also come out in support of unvaccinated patients seeking life-saving treatment in the Lone Star State. “Here in Texas, vaccines remain voluntary and never forced,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s office told Fox News last week. “Anyone being denied critical, life-saving organ transplants is welcome here in Texas, where one’s rights and freedoms are always protected.”

“It seems too many in the medical profession have forgotten their oaths,” GOP state Rep. Briscoe Cain also told the outlet. Cain added that he was pleased that Texas hospitals, by contrast, have “chosen to put patients before politics.”

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