A woman who urgently needs an organ transplant but has been pushed to the bottom of the waiting list because doctors say she must have a COVID vaccine—something she maintains would be unsafe given her condition—told her moving story recently during testimony at the National Citizens Inquiry.
“Whatever these doctors are doing, you’re evil, there’s no other word for it,” said Sheila Lewis, speaking virtually during the National Citizens Inquiry in Ottawa on May 17.
“I always thought a doctor took a Hippocratic Oath—do no harm,” she said. “Well there’s an awful lot of harm going on and I’m going to plead with you, please, please for the love of God, give people their transplant.”
Lewis, an Edmonton resident who has a terminal illness, said she can’t cook, clean, or walk even a few steps without difficulty, and that she has three oxygen machines on the go and wears two hoses 90 percent of the time.
The National Citizens Inquiry, which describes itself as a citizen-led and citizen-funded initiative that is independent of government, has been examining how COVID-19 pandemic measures put in place by all levels of government impacted Canadians in the areas of health, fundamental rights and freedoms, social well-being, and economic prosperity.
After holding eight hearings in cities across the country, with testimony from expert witnesses and members of the public, the inquiry ended in Ottawa on May 19.
Lewis told the inquiry is under a court order that prevents her from even mentioning the name of the organ she needs, as well as the names of doctors and any locations or names of hospitals involved in her case.
She told the inquiry commissioners that after completing a series of required tests that took a full year, she made it onto the organ transplant list.
“One of the doctors said … I was an ideal candidate and they said they looked forward to transplanting me because I was in such good health,” Lewis explained. “I was so excited. It would be a gift of life and I could go on. I was really happy.”
When doctors couldn’t find her childhood vaccine records, Lewis consented to get them all again. This took an additional year, she said, because there were a lot of vaccines and some of them had to be taken months apart.
When the pandemic hit, Lewis was told she’d be required to get the COVID vaccinations as well. She asked the doctor about the vaccine’s safety.
“He looked at me and he didn’t even blink and he said, ‘100 percent safe,’” she recounted. “I said there’s no data. It hasn’t even been out very long … we don’t know anything about it, how can it be 100 percent safe? He said ‘It’s 100 percent safe.’ He said he’d bet his life on it.”
Lewis went home to think about it. “The more I found out, the more I didn’t feel good about it,” she said.
She told the commissioners she was concerned because it normally takes many years of testing before a vaccine can be approved and that this hadn’t been done with the COVID vaccines. Because of this and some other reasons, she decided against getting vaccinated.
When she told the doctor she would not get the vaccine, her status on the transplant list reverted back to “zero,” and she says the only reason they haven’t removed her from the list completely is because she initiated a court action.
With the help of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms Lewis began court proceedings to get her status on the transplant list restored. However, she said, the court “agreed with the doctors that I should get the vaccine in order to get a transplant and they also agreed with the doctors to put a gag order on me.”
She then appealed the decision to a higher court, which basically upheld the lower court’s decision.
“I was hoping somebody had a heart … some kind of compassion, but I guess not,” Lewis said.
Lewis said she got her childhood vaccinations, and, because she’d had COVID twice, she even had natural immunity, but doctors still maintained their position.
When the head doctor in the transplant team refused her requests to do a natural immunity test, she got tested by a doctor in B.C.
“I have such extreme high levels of antibodies to COVID-19,” she said. “And another scientist told me about a spike protein in the vaccine that will do a lot of damage as well because I already have a damaged organ.”
‘We Just Want the Gift of Life’
Lewis has now applied for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada and is awaiting a response. She says if the court will not hear her case, she will be taken off the transplant list altogether.
In the meantime, her four sons have rearranged their lives so that one of them would always be home with her. “I really can’t do anything anymore,” she said, speaking through tears.
“All I wanted was a transplant. … I didn’t do anything wrong. I just couldn’t take that vaccine because it was going to do a lot more damage.”
Doctors and nurses will lose their licence if they speak out, she added.
“Something’s wrong and needs to be fixed, fast,” Lewis said.
“There’s a lot of people dying, and it’s not just me. I’m not the only one that was refused a transplant because they chose not to get a vaccine.
“We just want the gift of life. If it’s there and it’s possible, please give it. I don’t want to die, God help me,” she cried, covering her face with her hands.
The testimony moved commissioner Janice Kaikkonen to tears.
“Sheila you have a purpose, as difficult as this may seem right now, you’re standing in the gap for every other Canadian who is experiencing the same and standing up and fighting for justice and compassion in our country,” she said.
“Your testimony is a reminder that our government has forgotten how to govern. Your testimony is a reminder that our courts have lost their way in terms of justice.”
She told Lewis her testimony has given the inquiry a further purpose to continue to share the real-life experiences of Canadians.
Shawn Buckley, lead counsel for the NCI, said in conclusion: “There are people watching online and I think I can safely say that every Canadian that is watching is pretty ashamed to be a Canadian right now.”
“You can’t see,” Buckley added, “but there’s a standing ovation for you, Sheila.”