Utah family seeking transplant for boy at odds with hospital over vaccine requirement

Mar 10, 2022, 12:53 PM | Updated: Jun 19, 2022, 9:32 pm

SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah — A Utah family was approaching a decision and a deadline Wednesday as they fought to get a child on a transplant list while remaining at odds with a hospital over a vaccination requirement.

Scott McMickell said 12-year-old Syrus was born with kidney failure and had been elevated to stage 5 in December.

“Anytime he grows or gets dehydrated, something like that, just being a kid, it could crash at any time, so we’re kind of in a smaller time frame than most,” McMickell told KSL TV.

The McMickells had been working with Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital to get Syrus on the transplant list, but they were told he must have the COVID-19 vaccine to be placed on the list and to move forward with the process.

They were given a March 10 deadline to decide whether Syrus will get the vaccine or not, according to the father.

The family said it has reservations about the 12-year-old receiving the vaccine due to some heart troubles within the family as well as questions about the impact of the vaccine on the acceptance of organs.

“Everything’s up-to-date and it’s not like we’re against all vaccines — it’s this one that kind of has some questions,” McMickell said. “We’re still spreading (COVID-19), we’re still catching it, we’re still getting it — it just seems like the vaccine’s not doing quite what it should.”

Health officials have repeatedly urged people to receive the vaccine doses and booster during the pandemic to reduce the spread  as well as the disease’s potential severity.

In a statement, Primary Children’s Hospital said as of Dec. 1, 2021, it has required new transplant candidates to receive their first COVID-19 vaccine dose and receive other childhood vaccines prior to being added to the transplant waitlist, noting the police was in line with clinical standards at all Utah transplant centers.

“Because transplantation requires patients to be on immunosuppression medication for much of their lives, and significantly raises their risk to transmissible viruses, it’s vital for patients to be as protected as possible and to comply with all vaccine requirements BEFORE they can be added to the transplant waitlist,” the statement read. “These longstanding requirements help ensure patients receiving a transplanted organ have the greatest chance of survival.”

Additionally, the American Society of Transplantation has “strongly” recommended that all eligible children and adult transplant candidates and recipients be vaccinated, and whenever possible prior to transplantation.

Still, in a community where pandemic restrictions and requirements are easing, the McMickell family maintained it should have more of a choice in the matter.

“My wife has already had a transplant and stuff like that so she hasn’t had hers, either and we’re doing just fine, so it’s frustrating,” McMickell said.

He said if they don’t get Syrus the vaccine, other options potentially include starting the process over or putting the 12-year-old on dialysis.

“It goes back to how long can his kidney function last because he’s floating between 18 and 20 percent and who knows when it will crash,” the father said.

Syrus, who loves baseball, said he hoped to remain healthy enough to play little league in the upcoming year.

McMickell said he was trying to remain optimistic, but acknowledged the uphill battle ahead.

“It’s not looking like the hospital’s changing its mind anytime soon,” he said.

KSL 5 TV Live

Local News

Elder Mack Jared Chappell, a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints died Sa...

Mark Jones

Church missionary dies from unknown medical condition

A missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has died, according to the church.

2 hours ago

The family of a teenager who died following a crash in Lehi last Saturday said his legacy is living...

Brianna Chavez

Family of 17-year-old who died after Lehi motorcycle crash say he saved lives by donating organs

The family of a teenager who died following a crash in Lehi last Saturday said his legacy is living on after his organs were donated to several people.

3 hours ago

Salt Lake City police say two people have died in a workplace shooting Sunday afternoon. (Salt Lake...

Mark Jones

Two people dead in a workplace shooting, Salt Lake City police say

Salt Lake City police said two people have died in a workplace shooting Sunday afternoon.

5 hours ago


Mark Jones

A Code Blue alert issued in Salt Lake County for Sunday night

A Code Blue alert has been issued for Salt Lake County for Sunday night as temperatures are expected to drop into the 20s.

5 hours ago

Singer and Actress Kristin Chenoweth, right, and Mary-Mitchell Campbell perform during RootsTech at...

Collin Leonard, KSL.com

RootsTech: A ‘wicked’ Broadway finale, plus message from late church Apostle M. Russell Ballard

On the final day of the RootsTech 2024 conference, attendees braved a windstorm to listen to Broadway actor Kristin Chenoweth speak about faith, family and her experience as an adopted child.

7 hours ago

Show in Smithfield...

Mary Culbertson

Winter storm alert still active for central and northern Utah, caution advised

Utah saw the forces of dangerous winds on Saturday, but meteorologists say the caution should continue into Sunday.

8 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

Utah family seeking transplant for boy at odds with hospital over vaccine requirement