Undocumented Oakland Resident Denied Transplant over Immigration Status

Jesus Navarro, an illegal immigrant who was in line for a transplant, has been denied the life-saving operation after healthcare officials found out about his citizenship status.

According to an article in area news source the Contra Costa Times, Navarro had a willing donor – his wife – already lined up, and was able to pay for the operation with private insurance that he currently holds, and has held for 14 years.

Officials at the University of California-San Francisco Medical Center are unwilling to authorize the transplant procedure because Navarro’s status could limit the adequate follow-up care needed for this operation, the source reported. Reece Fawley, the hospital’s executive director, stated that UCSF looks at a number of socioeconomic factors when determining who will receive the hospital’s services, with the financial clearance requiring stable insurance or financial means, while an individual’s immigration status is also considered.

Navarro’s health trouble began eight years ago, when his kidneys began to shut down and he began at-home dialysis treatments, according to the Times. With the average life expectancy of dialysis patients around six years, hope for Navarro continues to dim, as the full-time steel worker’s illness has worsened.

A similar case occurred last December, when a New York man was denied a kidney transplant even after he found a perfect match from his brother, according to The New York Times. In an ironic twist of the United States’ current immigration services in the realm of healthcare, while the government would continue to pay for lifetime dialysis for the illegal immigrant patient, which costs $75,000 annually, the government was unwilling to support the one-time cost of $100,000 for the transplant.