Unvaccinated woman refused organ transplant files application to Supreme Court

Mike Campbell

January 12, 2023

Sheila Lewis, who was removed from an organ donor list because she’s unvaccinated, has applied to take her case to the Supreme Court of Canada. 

Unvaccinated woman refused organ transplant files application to Supreme Court
Unvaccinated woman refused organ transplant files application to Supreme Court

The Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench and the Alberta Court of Appeal dismissed Lewis’ applications, stating the decisions from doctors under the Alberta Health Service (AHS) are immune from Charter violations. 

“Ms. Lewis’ Supreme Court of Canada Leave Application focuses on the national importance of her case,” states the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF), which is representing Lewis. 

Lewis’ application focuses on three issues.

The first is whether or not the transplant physicians’ vaccine requirement should be immune from scrutiny under Charter rights and Alberta’s provincial bill of rights.

Next, the same question is directed at the provincial government.

And last, Lewis wants to know if “forcing a transplant candidate to take a novel drug in order to be eligible for a life-saving transplant without offering any other alternatives violate constitutional rights?”

The JCCF said the Supreme Court of Canada only accepts about 65-80 applications among the 500 to 600 received annually. 

JCCF previously argued that the Covid-19 vaccine requirement is premature because the vaccine is too new and still in phase three clinical trials in Canada. 

The absence of long-term safety data is one reason why Lewis refused vaccination.

“I call it a so-called vaccine. I’m really against it, and it’s not only because I didn’t want to take it but because of what I’ve seen,” she told The Counter Signal in November.

Allison Pejovic, the JCCF lawyer representing Lewis, said it’s the end of the legal line for Lewis. 

“She has made the difficult choice to stand against an unethical and unscientific vaccine mandate which has come between her and her chance to survive. We hope the Supreme Court of Canada is interested in hearing this very important case.”

Last month, Alberta Premier Danielle Smith waded into the controversy, saying she sought a second opinion on the issue. Smith acknowledged that doctors have to make difficult decisions with limited organs when determining organ transplants. 

But Smith also said that she’s against discrimination based on vaccine status.

“I’ve been pretty clear that we do not want to see discrimination against anybody on the basis of their booster status or their vaccination status.”

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