'I was born free, I will die free': Hospital denies man kidney transplant over vaccination status

"There will not be a situation that occurs where I'll change my mind on this topic," he said.
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- A North Carolina man who desperately needs a kidney transplant said he has been denied a life-saving operation because of his vaccination status.

However, he said he is not changing his mind, and said he's willing to die over his beliefs. Right now, Chad Carswell's kidney is only operating at about 4%.

He said he went to a hospital in Winston-Salem where he underwent numerous scans, hoping to get a transplant, only to find out he was required to be vaccinated for COVID-19 prior to the surgery.

Potential donors are also required to be vaccinated.

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Officials said it's part of the hospital's policy, but Carswell said he shouldn't be forced to get a shot.

When asked whether he might change his mind, Carswell told ABC affiliate WSOC no.

"No sir ... I was born free," he said. "I will die free. I'm not changing my mind. I've had conversations with my family and everybody who is close to me, and they know where I stand, and there will not be a situation that occurs where I'll change my mind on this topic."

The hospital is also standing firm, saying the vaccine is all about protection -- as transplant patients are at high risk for severe illness if they don't have pre-existing immunity.

Carswell told WSOC he's looking at other hospitals to see if they'll perform the surgery.

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