ICAN Demands Reconsideration of Kidney Transplant Denial for a 9-year-old Boy

On January 13, 2022, ICAN, through its attorneys, wrote a letter to the Cleveland Clinic for Bioethics within the Cleveland Children’s Hospital, on behalf of the Tanner Donaldson, a 9-year-old boy suffering from stage 5 chronic kidney disease who is in urgent need of a kidney transplant.

In a stroke of luck, the Donaldson family, after having undergone a battery of invasive tests over the course of 4 years, discovered that Tanner’s father, Dane, is a perfect match to donate one of his kidneys.  In early 2018, the Hospital approved the transplant. But despite being approved for his pre-emptive kidney transplant, the Hospital has reversed course and has denied Tanner’s transplant due to its adoption of a cruel, illogical, and unscientific policy that requires the donor (but not Tanner) to be vaccinated against COVID-19.  As the Donaldsons have explained to the Hospital, they have sincerely held religious beliefs against receiving the COVID-19 vaccines, as well as valid concerns about the efficacy of the vaccine and any possibility of harm from them.

Unfortunately, despite the Donaldsons’ pleas for the Hospital to make an exception, the Hospital has refused to budge – this despite the fact that Dane has natural immunity to COVID-19 which, as ICAN has repeatedly pointed out, is far superior to vaccine-induced immunity. The Hospital appears to be operating under a psychosis of flawed morality in choosing to sacrifice the health and wellness of a 9-year-old patient in exchange for what it perceives to be the “greater good.” The magnitude of the injustice of this situation for Tanner is hard to capture in words. After a grueling 4-year journey, Tanner, who is now entering stage 5 kidney disease, is having what may be his only chance at living a full life put at risk by an arbitrary and incredibly unethical new Hospital policy.

ICAN has urged the Hospital to cease its attempt to coerce Tanner’s parents into making an impossible choice between known harm or likely future harm by the very individuals who swear an oath to “Do no harm.”  We will continue to keep you updated in the fight for Tanner’s kidney transplant and, in the meantime, you can read the full letter from ICAN’s attorneys here.