Duke University Denies Kidney Transplant to 14-Year-Old Girl Who Refused COVID Vaccine

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 7, 2022   |   2:55PM   |   Washington, DC

Duke University is coming under fire for refusing a life-saving kidney transplant to a dying 14-year-old girl who has not had the COVID vaccine.

Yulia Hicks, who is a rescued orphan from Ukraine, was finally adopted by a family in North Carolina after she came to the United States from the war-torn nation. The Hicks family, a Christian couple with 11 children, adopted her to provide her a loving family.

Tragically, Yulia has a genetic kidney disorder and the family brought her to Duke University hospital for medical assistance.

But on November 29, the Hicks family got some shocking news about their daughter — that it would not give her a kidney transplant because she had not had the COVID vaccine.

“To think that a committee can determine someone’s life is terrifying. This is, without a doubt, medical tyranny. What has become of the medical community? How does the refusal of a shot that is known to cause many health issues AND does NOT stop the spread of a disease deny a 14-year lifesaving therapy? How does that happen in America? Today we are sad. Tomorrow is a new day, and God is there with an answer for us,” Chrissy Hicks posted on Yulia’s website.  

“We can’t require you to do anything, but we can deny you because you are not following our recommendations,” Duke’s Catherine Thomas told Chrissy Hicks during a phone call.

During the call, Chambers insisted that the COVID vaccine would boost Yulia’s health even while admitting that the vaccine does not prevent anyone from getting COVID.

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“We do not have medical freedom or religious freedom anymore,” Chrissy Hicks told National File in reaction to the conference call conversation. She provided the full 15 min phone call to us.

Chrissy spoke further with National File and told her story of finding and adopting Yulia, about her faith in God, her medical background, and her fears -and then dealing with Duke, stopping a few times, feeling overwhelmed with emotion.

“I feel the same about this for my daughter Yulia as I do any of my 8 biological children or other adopted children. Yulia is my child, and I am afraid that the COVID shot will kill her. I have done the research and I have a medical background. I know there will be a lot of blowback on me for bringing this to the public, but I feel very strongly about it,” she said.

She told National File: “I have the right to choose and I don’t want to put her at risk. Children are dying unexpectedly and it is scary. Yulia is already compromised. Where does it end for the medical community to force things on us? Yulia has done everything they have asked her to do for months and we did it perfectly, and now they are telling us no, we can’t go further. They are telling her no, and that seems like a great injustice. As her Mom, that is so upsetting to me, because I feel we were called to be together and I want to give her a good life.”

Hicks said her family will continue fighting for her daughter and are now seeking a transplant center that will not require Yulia to receive the Covid shot.

Yulia is not in imminent danger. But receiving a transplant outside North Carolina, where she lives, will add to the expense and complexity of the transplant, further disrupt her life and potentially add to the risks she faces by interfering with her routine of home dialysis. The Hickses – who have eight biological and three adopted children – are now trying to raise $25,000 to help pay for the additional expenses of traveling for a transplant.

“We were hoping that they would come around,” Chrissy Hicks said. “But from the beginning they have pushed it on us.”

Despite this new challenge, Yulia remains optimistic, Chrissy said.

“She’s the happiest child I’ve ever met in my life,” she said.

This is not the first time patients have been denied lifesaving medical transplants because they refuse the COVID vaccine.