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  1. #1
    Senior Member Brian503a's Avatar
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    May 2005
    California or ground zero of the invasion

    Transplants: Do We Have the Right?

    Transplants: Do We Have the Right?

    Chicago celebrated Ana Esparza’s 15th birthday. The young undocumented immigrant needed a second kidney transplant to stay alive. The community turned out to help Ana so a second transplant could be paid for, but this is just one of hundreds of cases.

    Jorge Mújica Murias La Raza

    As of the close of this edition, the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) reported that 4,740 people in Illinois are waiting to get an organ so they can live. Data show that 4,543 are citizens, 54 are legal residents, and 143 do not report their status or report that they are not legal residents. Nationwide, around 89,013 people are waiting for an organ. Among them are 867 nonresidents and 2,525 who do not report their immigration status, among them 686 Latins.

    There are no precise data on the immigration status of these people because the Network refuses to record it. As a matter of fact, their internal policies prohibit doing so. Article 6.21 of their Regulations specify that selection for a transplant from the OPTN list of nonresident foreigners must be based on the same policy approved by the Board of Directors as applied to US patients. The selection may not be influenced by favoritism or discrimination on the basis of politics, national origin, race, sex, religion or economic status.�

    In the specifications for the charges for being placed on the waiting list for an organ (6.2.3), it specifies that transplants for nonresident foreigners are a humanitarian act and are not to be done to earn money. Transplant centers that have nonresidents on their waiting lists must charge them for services just as they charge US patients.� The fees are $459 to register and $50 for entry into the computerized data base and circulating it among its networks of patients and hospitals.

    But federal law on immigration into the United States does not allow an undocumented immigrant to receive an organ transplant. The undocumented may not receive benefits from federal programs except under special circumstances. Indeed, immigration law allows only: A) Medical Assistance under Title XIX of Social Security Act [42 U.S.C.A. § 1396 et seq.] (or whatever supercedes it) for care and services as may be necessary for treatment of an emergency medical condition (as defined in Section 1903(v)(3) of such law [42 U.S.C. § 1396b(v)(3)]) and insofar as the foreigner is not involved in an organ transplant procedure.

    Change the law?

    On February 11, 2003, a month before Jessica’s case, Congressman Luis Gutiérrez was involved in another case here in Chicago. Melanie Veliz, a young undocumented Chilean 9 years old, needed a transplant. Gutiérrez introduced Bill H.R. 690 to the 108th Congress.

    In his bill, Gutiérrez modified the Social Security Act to allow Medicaid coverage for organ transplants as an emergency procedure for certain undocumented children, entitling the bill “Organ Transplant Act of 2003 for Foreign Children.�

    The basic change in the Act was to allow transplants in the event that the transplant be for an individual who has not reached the age of 18 and who is residing in the United States on the day of approval of the Act, or who develops a medical condition requiring an organ transplant while living in the United States.

    His bill was not passed. But while the community may feel solidarity and see humanitarian reasons for such a change in law, there was no sympathy among Congressmen in Washington for including “undocumented foreigners,� even children, into the transplant system.

    Compassion? Not for “illegals�

    Two months later, the Mexican Jessica Santillán received the wrong heart in the Duke University Hospital in North Carolina: the blood type did not match. The hospital repeated the operation and put in another heart. The story was widely reported, but acquired much notoriety once it was known that the Santillán family was undocumented and had paid $5,000 to a “coyote� to be brought into the United States in order to get the transplants.

    Reactions from anti-immigrant people were not long in coming.

    “As sad as little Jessica’s story is, it is even sadder for two other children who died while awaiting a heart and lungs, who were behind Jessica on the list. These two American children died because an illegal immigrant came into this country, in violation of the law, and got what she had no right to. American taxpayers also paid for these lawbreakers, and because of her two American children died.�

    This was written on the Internet by a woman who identified herself as “Reina_Atlan� in the discussion groups on the World Wide Web.

    And she is not alone. In, Michelle Malkin published an article reflecting the same kind of feeling but with even stronger opinions against undocumented immigrants getting not just transplants but any type of medical help.

    “Nobody can deny that Jessica’s case is sad,� she wrote, “but we can’t ignore some public policy questions.� And she asks: “When resources are scarce, as organs for transplant are, why shouldn’t priority be given to American citizens? If Jessica recovers from her second heart transplant,� she continues, “will there be some federal authority with the courage to enforce the law and deport her back to Mexico along with her family?

    “Medical providers in New York have carried out dozens of organ transplants, including sex changes, on illegal immigrants. The cost of such ‘charity’ is charged to patients with medical insurance, which translates into more expensive policies. In a world short of resources, compassion must have limits,� she adds, concluding by saying that “United Network for Organs Sharing, a nonprofit organization, has established a policy of no more than five percent of transplant organs in a hospital being for illegal immigrants or foreigners. But when hospitals have tried to refuse operations, they have run into the fury of politicians and the communications media.�

    What’s missing

    But for Vicente Serrano, who himself works in a communications medium and was deeply involved in the campaign on behalf of Ana Esparza, the media should do much more than they are doing. “We are good at organizing a march for immigrant rights, but nobody is mounting an ongoing campaign for health issues, to save lives.�

    And it’s not just a problem of money, he added. “There isn’t enough money. There aren’t enough transplant organs. The undocumented aspect must be done away with, and there is a lack of awareness. Very few give their fair share.�

    John Valencia, representative for Latin programs for the Gift of Hope organization, agreed with Vicente. “Anybody, documented or not, can donate organs. Obviously, the papers don’t matter in donating organs.�

    But for Vicente, “We Latins don’t have a culture of making donations of either money or organs, and even if there are people who are concerned, there are others who won’t get involved and who maybe could do the most. “Look,� he said, referring to the campaign for Ana Esparza, “a popsicle vendor came up and gave us money, most likely his day’s earnings, but if only somebody like Ozzie Guillén (Manager of the Chicago White Sox) or Sammy Sosa, who earn millions of dollars, could pitch in.�

    But even if the donation were free, the transplant isn’t. “For Melanie Veliz, with companies like Cacique, in stores like Cermak Foods, they collected $460,000, but that wasn’t enough. Melanie died eight months later,� Valencia said. “Every day 18 people who are awaiting organs die, and every 13 minutes another person goes onto the waiting list.� And the wait is long. Depending on which organ and medical conditions, it can be up to five or seven years.

    “And besides the transplant,� Valencia added, “there are drugs that cost a thousand dollars, and without them the organ is rejected and the person can die. Even with insurance, the drugs cost $40 or $50 each.�

    And he points out the obvious: “Everybody knows, for example, that dialysis is more expensive than a transplant, but even so, if dialysis isn’t done, the person dies. Payment has to start well before the transplant.

    What else is obvious is that not every child or adult can be helped to get money. “Years ago there was the Latins with Disabilities organization, which did something like this, but it disappeared. The only current efforts are private,� he said. “They propose collecting money every day at big companies like Motorola or Allstate, but I don’t believe that it would work when they know it’s to help the undocumented. It has to be done for those who can’ pay, period.�

    And that seems to be the key. The bottom line is that, by paying, anybody can get onto the list and get a transplant. “It’s the same for an undocumented as for a poor American with neither Medicaid nor Medicare. The solution has to be socialized medicine,� Valencia expressed, concluding with “Thank God, Ana had a second chance at life, but there are other kids that never even had a first chance.�

    “Good-hearted people must be organized, Serrano pointed out. “And real money must be gotten. What about collecting two extra dollars for a game of Chivas versus Real Madrid? We could pay for a transplant with every game.

    “And above all, for the children,� he concluded. “They didn’t come here on their own. Their parents brought them.� © La Raza
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    Aug 2005
    There needs to be "public policy"!!

    Right there does, and it's called immigration law. We already have the policy because we already have the laws.

    What we lack are government officials loyal to the United States and the American People.
    A Nation Without Borders Is Not A Nation - Ronald Reagan
    Save America, Deport Congress! - Judy

    Support our FIGHT AGAINST illegal immigration & Amnesty by joining our E-mail Alerts at

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    North Carolina
    And, what this article fails to mention is that this ILLEGAL family had the unmitigated gall to SUE Duke! I think they ended up settling out of court for an "undisclosed amount" but sue they did. Now, what is WRONG in the picture???? WHY did she get not one but TWO heart transplants when there are thousands of American children waiting for transplants?? Why did Duke not verify their status before performing this surgery? So, you could say that 2 American children probably died waiting for a heart transplant while 2 AMERICAN hearts were transplanted for an ILLEGAL.

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