Illegal immigrant needs a kidney transplant

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Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4100
Illegal immigrant needs a kidney transplant

I can't seem to copy a clean version of the article... In a nutshell, a man named Jesus is an illegal immigrant who needs a kidney transplant. He worked in the U.S. for 14 years, apparently paying taxes, and was covered by his employer's insurance. His wife is willing to donate her kidney, so he's not taking a needed kidney away from anyone else. He lost his job last year because of his illness, but is still covered by insurance under COBRA, which only lasts for 18 months even if he can keep up with the payments. Because he's illegal, he doesn't qualify for Medicare which normally helps pay for the lifelong medications that transplant patients need to take. The hospital is considering whether to go ahead with the transplant or not, and has emphasized that the decision is NOT over whether he's legal or not, but whether he can afford the follow-up care which runs tens of thousands of dollars a year. Should citizenship matter in healthcare? Shouldn't someone who needs a kidney, and who has a compatible, willing donor, be able to get the transplant? Shouldn't the necessary drugs be provided to *humans* rather than citizens? Or should we just send him back to Mexico to die?

[FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=3]http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/02/09/BADQ1N2EVP.DTL
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Joined: 03/14/09
Posts: 624

LET HIM DIE!!!!!

Sorry, getting in there before the "everyone who isn't born in the US is a criminal" crowd does.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6560

This is a complicated situation. DH is in the process of donating his kidney to his brother. It has been a year long process of testing, testing, and more testing. This will be Roger's (DH's brother) second kidney transplant. He will have to be on anti rejection drugs for the rest of his life and closely monitored for the rest of his life. IMO the only way the transplant would work would be to grant him citizenship and let him stay in the US for the rest of his life. Giving him the transplant then sending him home would kill him.

I have no great answers to the illegal immigration situation. I wish that it were possible for anyone who wants to, to come to America. I just do not see how it is possible. I have heard of special situations where people in other countries need medical care that can not be gotten in their home countries being brought to the US for treatment that is paid for by foundations.

wlillie's picture
Joined: 09/17/07
Posts: 1796

There are over 90,000 people waiting for organs who *can* afford the medications. The surgery costs over 100,00 and his wife's future healthcare will need to be covered too. It has **** to do with his status, they are just hoping the media attention will pressure the donation team tobreak the rules. I would do the same thing but my happy *** would have become a citizen of the country I wanted to mooch off of long before 14 years was up.

Not to mention when I donated mine we had to wait for a day to get the rooms and the surgeons. They would be taking that spot from someone who has a chance at the kidney surviving. He doesn't without insurance. Medicare has already cut back on payments for anti rejection drugs. If he got deported he WOULD die and all of those resources would be wasted.

Yep after reading the article they only do 350 a year. Why the **** did they wait 6 years before asking for the transplant? What kind of idiots wait until the breadwinner is too sick to work when you know you need the insurancge? Those poor kids.

Joined: 06/04/07
Posts: 1368

If your state is anything like our state, we have EMA (emergency medical assistance) which is a program basically for illegal immigrants or immigrants legally here under statuses that don't otherwise qualify for assistance. It used to be where if a certain medical condition required emergency treatment that they could apply and if found income and asset eligible, would qualify for EMA - even if they have health insurance. However, this past year, they've changed a bit of the criteria to limit the clients only to those facing life or death treatment. I have one where he's an illegal immigrant being here for about the same number of years as this guy except he requires dialysis. Only the hospital can now petition and work with the state to maintain coverage for him. Since they stated that they're reviewing Medi-Cal, this may be an option for him.

Joined: 04/12/03
Posts: 1686

"wlillie" wrote:

There are over 90,000 people waiting for organs who *can* afford the medications. The surgery costs over 100,00 and his wife's future healthcare will need to be covered too. It has **** to do with his status, they are just hoping the media attention will pressure the donation team tobreak the rules. I would do the same thing but my happy *** would have become a citizen of the country I wanted to mooch off of long before 14 years was up.

Not to mention when I donated mine we had to wait for a day to get the rooms and the surgeons. They would be taking that spot from someone who has a chance at the kidney surviving. He doesn't without insurance. Medicare has already cut back on payments for anti rejection drugs. If he got deported he WOULD die and all of those resources would be wasted.

Yep after reading the article they only do 350 a year. Why the **** did they wait 6 years before asking for the transplant? What kind of idiots wait until the breadwinner is too sick to work when you know you need the insurancge? Those poor kids.

Navarro, originally from Mexico, has been waiting for a kidney for six years and undergoes nightly dialysis. His wife, Karen, hopes to be able to donate a kidney.

Last May, he met with UCSF officials as part of a review routinely conducted of potential transplant patients when they have about a year left on the waiting list. After the meeting, in which he revealed he was not here legally, UCSF changed Navarro's status on the kidney transplant waiting list to "inactive."

It doesn't sound like they waited 6 years before asking for the transplant. It sounds like he's been on the waiting list for 6 years and now has "about a year left on the waiting list."

culturedmom's picture
Joined: 09/30/06
Posts: 1131

"wlillie" wrote:

There are over 90,000 people waiting for organs who *can* afford the medications. The surgery costs over 100,00 and his wife's future healthcare will need to be covered too. It has **** to do with his status, they are just hoping the media attention will pressure the donation team tobreak the rules. I would do the same thing but my happy *** would have become a citizen of the country I wanted to mooch off of long before 14 years was up.

Not to mention when I donated mine we had to wait for a day to get the rooms and the surgeons. They would be taking that spot from someone who has a chance at the kidney surviving. He doesn't without insurance. Medicare has already cut back on payments for anti rejection drugs. If he got deported he WOULD die and all of those resources would be wasted.

Yep after reading the article they only do 350 a year. Why the **** did they wait 6 years before asking for the transplant? What kind of idiots wait until the breadwinner is too sick to work when you know you need the insurancge? Those poor kids.

To the bolded.........Wow. Well maybe you should enlighten us on just how you would do that since you seem to know some secret loophole that everyone else doesn't?

wlillie's picture
Joined: 09/17/07
Posts: 1796

I meant the live one. If they'd asked for it before he lost his insurance he would have his wife's kidney. The husband of the lady I donated to had sent out an email asking people to get tested as soon as they told him he wasn't a good candidate. Why wait until you lose your job and go to dialysis? I understand not wanting to put your wife through that but honestly they are in a much worse position now. Its not like they don't explain the process when you first get on the list. Everyone istold you have to prove you can pay for the lifelong medications before they perform the surgery. Plus just the testing alone is so expensive and nerve wracking. I can't imagine how it feels to go through dialysis but I can't see waiting until my husband is taken off the cadavar list to offer. I would bet they are hoping to get put back on it since he's only got a year left. Which is fine,but telling the media otherwise is shady.

Joined: 06/04/07
Posts: 1368

"wlillie" wrote:

I meant the live one. If they'd asked for it before he lost his insurance he would have his wife's kidney. The husband of the lady I donated to had sent out an email asking people to get tested as soon as they told him he wasn't a good candidate. Why wait until you lose your job and go to dialysis? I understand not wanting to put your wife through that but honestly they are in a much worse position now. Its not like they don't explain the process when you first get on the list. Everyone istold you have to prove you can pay for the lifelong medications before they perform the surgery. Plus just the testing alone is so expensive and nerve wracking. I can't imagine how it feels to go through dialysis but I can't see waiting until my husband is taken off the cadavar list to offer. I would bet they are hoping to get put back on it since he's only got a year left. Which is fine,but telling the media otherwise is shady.

If you're going by this article alone, it's an assumption that he lost his job due to his health. No where does it indicate the reason why he lost his job. For all we know, he's been going to dialysis for years already with his employer accommodating his needs through intermittent FMLA. I wouldn't assume to know what they personally have gone through to reach this step. Maybe he feared he would lose his employment or insurance by revealing his immigration status. Maybe that fear became his reality.

mom3girls's picture
Joined: 01/09/07
Posts: 1535

if the board will not approve his transplant then I have to assume they know what the statistics on outcomes of patients like these are. Transplant boards are not arbitrary, they have to know that even if he got approved for Medicare that wouldnt be enough to cover all of his care for the rest of his life.

ClairesMommy's picture
Joined: 08/15/06
Posts: 2299

I don't think citizenship has anything to do with it. Thousands of people travel out of their own country every year to receive medical treatment not approved at home but available elsewhere, then return to their home and expect the healthcare system there to take care of them related to the out-of-country treatment they received.

elleon17's picture
Joined: 01/26/09
Posts: 1981

I think that this goes beyond immigration status. He deserves to live, transplant away. no one can predict his future financial status and if all surgeries were considered on that point, there would be many less than are needed.

wlillie's picture
Joined: 09/17/07
Posts: 1796

In January, Navarro was caught in an immigration audit and lost his job of 14 years at Berkeley's Pacific Steel. His supporters have arranged to have him keep his private insurance for at least 18 months.

UCSF also said it referred Navarro to two community-assistance organizations that specialize in immigration issues.
While Navarro's waitlist status remains "inactive," a medical center spokeswoman said the center expects all remaining issues to be resolved in coming months. Navarro, who has a 3-year-old daughter, is high on the waiting list and could reach the top in three to six months, UCSF said. The donor would not be his wife.

Going forward, UCSF will ask all transplant candidates about their immigration status and help patients who are undocumented find a way to guarantee aftercare, spokeswoman Amy Pyle said.

You were right. He lost his job because he was here illegally. He is going to get a kidney from someone who is on the list who is here legally and can afford the medication to take care of the kidney after he receives it. Despite the fact that there are many people who are here legally who get turned away because they can't afford the anti-rejection medication. And now they aren't even pretending like his wife is going to donate. Not to mention that a few websites said she was cleared to donate; the cost of those tests alone could have paid for anti-rejection medications for a year.

Only in the US; this wouldn't happen anywhere else in the entire world.

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4100

"wlillie" wrote:

In January, Navarro was caught in an immigration audit and lost his job of 14 years at Berkeley's Pacific Steel. His supporters have arranged to have him keep his private insurance for at least 18 months.

UCSF also said it referred Navarro to two community-assistance organizations that specialize in immigration issues.
While Navarro's waitlist status remains "inactive," a medical center spokeswoman said the center expects all remaining issues to be resolved in coming months. Navarro, who has a 3-year-old daughter, is high on the waiting list and could reach the top in three to six months, UCSF said. The donor would not be his wife.

Going forward, UCSF will ask all transplant candidates about their immigration status and help patients who are undocumented find a way to guarantee aftercare, spokeswoman Amy Pyle said.

Can you cite this, please? I did a Google search on him before I posted the OP and didn't see anything like this.

wlillie's picture
Joined: 09/17/07
Posts: 1796

http://www.insidebayarea.com/news/ci_19929067?source=most_viewed

It's not the only one. Almost all of the articles I've read in the past few days say "top of the list in 6 months" which means the donor isn't his wife. I'm assuming they never had any intention at all of her being the donor. Actually, there aren't any that don't refer to the cadavar list and his position on it. If they are going to run out of health insurance 18 months from now, then she wouldn't be able to afford the yearly kidney function check by year 2. If she had any complications at all, they'd have two sick adults to care for that one child financially and all the rest.

Again, if they had ever planned for her to be a living donor, they would have done it before he went to his one year appt for the cadavar list. He also would never ever have cared about being moved from active to inactive on the waiting list. They were lying. This is what happens when organizations get involved without checking out the real facts. There is no doubt in my mind that they would have lost a lot of support if people had thought about the details instead of just going off the emotional pull of his immigration status. It's not just his immigration status; it's a complete waste of a kidney if he can't pay for the meds.

The whole "my wife will donate a kidney" was a smokescreen that I can't believe 140,000 people fell for. It's sad when people care more about someone who chose to break all kinds of laws and then have a child when he knew he could be deported to a country where his situation would be an immediate death sentence when there are plenty of people who are here legally and have contributed and actually should have a right to our healthcare system (according to the government) who are left off the list. Very sad.

http://www.unos.org/

The active number is people who are eligible-inactive is people who don't meet all the requirements. Jesus is *NOT* the only person placed on the inactive list because of finances and I'm appalled that the other whatever percentage of the 40,000 of that are being overlooked for this man.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/09/jesus-navarro-illegal-immigrant-kidney-transplant-reversal_n_1266006.html
Navarro had been on the waiting list for the operation for six years before being moved to "inactive" status. Navarro's brief inactive stint didn't affect his position on list; USCF officials expect him to reach the top within three to six months.

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4100

I'm not torn up about the wife not being *his* donor. UCSF routinely does paired transplants where a willing donor is coordinated with someone else who also has a willing donor who doesn't match. Not long ago, they did a paired transplant with seven recipients and seven donors. That paired transplant freed up seven spaces on the waiting list for cadaver kidneys!

No one should die because they can't afford health care. Health care should be a basic human right, not a privilege of the rich and legal.

wlillie's picture
Joined: 09/17/07
Posts: 1796

Yeah, you would hear about it if she'd been paired up with someone; he wouldn't be on the list, there would be an exchange and they wouldn't keep mentioning his spot on the "list." The "list" is organized by UNOS and is for Cadavar donors, not for living donors. If they were planning a living donation *AT ALL* he wouldn't have cared about them moving him to inactive because it wouldn't affect him. He wouldn't have gone to that appt for the one year thing if he planned a living donation; it's an entirely different process. They aren't and weren't.

They're up to 10 people getting organs now but I dont' think it was all kidneys. If she was going to donate, that still wouldn't take away from the fact that people who have followed all the rules except the anti-rejection meds cost follow up plan (just like him except the whole not legally allowed in the country at all bit) are still waiting on the inactive list while this guy is getting his kidney. It's wrong.

eta-OH!!! and she doesn't need to "match." It's better for everyone if she does have a few of the antigens needed, but they can transplant organs with different blood types now. I was a 3 out of 6 which is amazing for a non-related donor, but it wouldn't have mattered if I had none of the antigens she did. The medication is amazing (which is why it's so freaking expensive).

If they had gone through the process of becoming legal citizens, he would have qualified for Medicare at 80% but still would have had to have found the other 20% and usually you get kicked off after 2 years for the anti-rejection medications. The fact that neither of them is legally allowed to work in the US is just an added thing holding them back. A lot of this stress and pain and emotional toll would have been fixed if they'd just done things the right way instead of spending 14 years as illegal immigrants.

eta2-we don't know how long he would live on dialysis. Not getting a transplant is a *LOT* less of a death sentence for an ohterwise healthy 35 year old man than it will be for the people who may not have been waiting as long or who might have drastic sudden changes in their health that would get them moved to inactive (unable to undergo the transplant) while they wait longer on the list because of him.

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4114

"Claire'sMommy" wrote:

I don't think citizenship has anything to do with it. Thousands of people travel out of their own country every year to receive medical treatment not approved at home but available elsewhere, then return to their home and expect the healthcare system there to take care of them related to the out-of-country treatment they received.

Just curious.... Would Canada do a kidney transplant for an illegal immigrant?

ClairesMommy's picture
Joined: 08/15/06
Posts: 2299

"GloriaInTX" wrote:

Just curious.... Would Canada do a kidney transplant for an illegal immigrant?

It's nearly impossible to say, since immigration is obviously a federal matter and healthcare is provincial. Each province here would have their own policies regarding organ transplants for illegal immigrants. But our healthcare is much more socialized than yours. It's about 70% funded by taxpayers and we (taxpayers, that is) pay for medications/procedures etc. for uninsured citizens. I think it would be fair to say that in all likelihood illegal immigrants are afforded certain emergency/acute care procedures. I don't know though. If Kris weighs in maybe she has more insight.