Dec 8, 2012 No Comments ›› Chuck Biscuits
Who will speak for the American Mariscal has hurt or killed?
American Medical Association: How hard is it to get a kidney?
Unfortunately, there are too few kidneys for all the people who need them. Not enough people sign up to be organ donors. The shortage persists even though each person gets only one kidney at a time. Although the body normally has two kidneys, it can get by with just one as long as that kidney is healthy and working well.
Federal law says that kidneys should be given out in a fair and efficient way. In the current system, a national list contains the names and HLA types of people who need cadaver kidneys. When a kidney donor’s kidneys become available, doctors check the list to see whose HLA types best match that of the donor. If there are several people who match equally well, the two people waiting longest get the kidneys. Some people must wait years before a kidney becomes available. Those waiting use dialysis in the meantime.
Excerpted from The Chicago Tribune: As an illegal immigrant, Jorge Mariscal waited eight years for a kidney transplant he feared would never come.
His persistence paid off Thursday when he underwent the procedure at Loyola University Medical Center.
After years of uncertainties, Mariscal said he’s excited about his future and grateful for the help he received. But he remains frustrated with a health care system that he worries might leave out an untold number of illegal immigrants in need of lifesaving treatments.
“Why can’t we be treated the same?” he asked while sitting in his hospital room. “Health care should be a human right, not a privilege. At least give us the chance to fight for our lives with dignity.”
Mariscal’s treatment is far from over. The pills he’ll need to make sure his body doesn’t reject the new organ can cost upward of $10,000 a year for the rest of his life. And paying for those, just like the surgery, is complicated by his immigration status.
Although Loyola agreed to cover the costs of the transplant, Mariscal will have to pay for the medicine. He applied for a grant through the Simon Bolivar Foundation, a medical nonprofit, that would help cover his first year of anti-rejection pills. But without health insurance, he expects he’ll have to pay for most of his medication.
Aside from his help with fundraising, Landaverde organized a 21-day hunger strike in June against hospitals that denied transplants to patients because of their undocumented status.
Landaverde said that after the strike, in addition to Mariscal’s treatment at Loyola, the University of Illinois at Chicago Medical Center agreed to evaluate Lorenzo Arroyo, another illegal immigrant, for a possible liver transplant. Rush University Medical Center also placed Arroyo’s brother, Elfego, on a transplant waiting list.