June 21, 2024

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Boston father removed from heart transplant list over vaccine deteriorating ‘so much, so quickly,’ family says

The Boston man who was removed from the heart transplant list for not getting the COVID-19 vaccine was left fighting for his life on Tuesday after undergoing emergency open-heart surgery, his family told Tucker Carlson.

DJ Ferguson, a 31-year-old father of two with another on the way, was admitted to Brigham and Women’s Hospital after suffering from heart failure. Ferguson was reportedly diagnosed with arrhythmia several years ago and was at the front of the line to receive a heart transplant, but was deemed ineligible when hospital staff discovered he was unvaccinated, his parents told “Tucker Carlson Tonight“on Wednesday.

Ferguson underwent an hours-long emergency open-heart surgery on Tuesday as doctors tried to find temporary solutions to stabilize him. But his rapid deterioration makes a transplant ever more urgent, his family said.


“He got led down a path where they had to stop doing procedures where they said he was qualified nonetheless for the heart transplant. But he had to get the vaccine in order to get that transplant. He’s deteriorated so much so quickly that they had to resort to open-heart surgery and doing the LVAD [left ventricular assist device] mechanical pump, “the patient’s father, David Ferguson, said.” So now my boy has a pump, he’s in recovery. He went through seven hours of surgery. “

DJ’s mother Tracy Ferguson said she is “devastated by the news.” His longtime partner, Heather Dawson praised the care the 31-year-old has received from nurses and doctors, but said it has been “so disheartening” to have the hospital “hang this over our head right at the last minute.”

The Carl J. and Ruth Shapiro Cardiovascular Center at the Brigham and Woman’s Hospital in Boston, MA. Brigham and Woman’s Hospital in part of Partners Healthcare and a Harvard Medical School teaching hospital. (Photo by Rick Friedman / rickfriedman.com / Corbis via Getty Images)
(Rick Friedman / rickfriedman.com / Corbis via Getty Images)

“It’s terrible. It sucks because his nurses are amazing. They have been amazing to him. His doctors have been amazing to him. But having that dangled over our head at the very last minute after he had been through all the testing, after he received his letter saying that he was accepted onto the transplant list, it is just so disheartening that they would hang this over his head right at the last moment, “an emotional Dawson told Carlson.

The host asked whether anyone has come to the family’s aid to rectify what he called a “moral atrocity” committed by the world-renowned hospital.

“Not really,” Dawson said. “Besides basically just the fundraising we have done for ourselves. We are both self-employed small business owners. And aside from that, no we haven’t gotten any help.”


The hospital told CBS Boston that its policy is in line with other transplant programs in the US that require the vaccine because it fits under the lifestyle behaviors of the candidates. The statement said it is the hospital’s goal to “create both the best chance for successful operation and also the patient’s survival after transplantation.”