Jesús Navarro waited six and a half years for a kidney transplant. When his turn on the list came, UCSF Medical Center refused to do the surgery despite the fact he had private health insurance. What is Navarro’s problem? He is an undocumented immigrant.
The hospital said that because of his immigration status, Navarro can’t guarantee he will be able to afford the high cost of the medications he must take for the rest of his life after the transplant. It is not just a matter of saying “I have the organ” but of being able to maintain it, according to the hospital.
Navarro worked at Pacific Steel in Berkeley for 14 years and was recently fired during an immigration audit. Until now, he has extended the health insurance coverage he had through his employer. However, in the future he may have to rely on Medi-Cal, which won’t pay approximately $20,000 for medications.
This is a humanitarian matter, and what is fair must prevail over all other post-operatory considerations, such as someone’s financial situation or immigration status. It is even worse when the hospital that is rejecting a patient has in the past accepted organ donations from undocumented immigrants for transplants.
We think the hospital has made the wrong medical decision based on calculations and stereotypes that would not have affected another patient. That is wrong.
Some may look at this situation through legal eyes and with nativist ideas, when in reality this is a medical case and as such, the priority is saving the life of someone who waited his turn like any other patient.
The Medical Center must reconsider its decision and do Jesús Navarro’s kidney transplant.