The University of Michigan Health System's (UMHS) change of heart comes after Pacific Justice Institute (PJI) filed a religious discrimination lawsuit on behalf of two patients who were removed from the university's transplant waitlist because of their refusal to get COVID shots.
PJI President Brad Dacus says both plaintiffs cited their pro-life Catholic faith, specifically regarding the use of fetal cell cultures in the shots' development and/or production, as the reason for their objection.
While the hospital asserted their right to exercise their discretion and "sound medical judgment" in determining transplant eligibility criteria, PJI argued that their position represented religious discrimination.
"We made it very clear that those that they put on medical death row, who needed critical organ transplants, were going to win," Dacus tells AFN. "We are glad they did the right thing, but unfortunately, there's still other hospitals around the country that are still putting people on medical death row who critically need organ transplants that are being denied simply because they have not received a COVID vax."
That, he says, is a breach of the Hippocratic Oath, other medical ethics, and the law.
"We at Pacific Justice Institute intend to go to bat for everyone on medical death row to save their lives but also to see justice against this outrageous tyranny," the attorney asserts.
With the court date pending, the University of Michigan released a new policy reflecting the reversal of its previous position:
The University hereby gives notice to the Court that in light of developing epidemiological and other actuarial circumstances, effective April 27, 2023, it has changed its Transplant Center COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement for Adult Transplant Candidates. Relevant to this litigation, COVID-19 vaccine will no longer be required prior to wait-listing of potential adult solid organ transplant recipients.
Dacus' firm intends to see that the remaining "minority number of hospitals" stops engaging in "such horrific practices."