Health

Undocumented Immigrant Jesus Navarro Denied Kidney Transplant

| by Michael Allen

Jesus Navarro, a dialysis patient who will die without a kidney transplant, has private insurance and a donor to provide a replacement kidney.

However, he is an undocumented immigrant, so hospital administrators at UC San Francisco Medical Center are refusing to allow the transplant, saying that there is no guarantee Navarro will receive the necessary follow-up care because of his immigration status.

For eight years, Navarro has used a home dialysis machine to cleanse his blood after his kidneys began to fail. He reached the top of the waitlist for a kidney last Spring, but doctors called off his transplant when they discovered his immigration status.

Reece Fawley, executive director of transplantation at UC San Francisco, said in a statement: "UCSF's policy for financial clearance requires candidates to present evidence of adequate and stable insurance coverage or other financial sources necessary to sustain follow-up care long after transplant surgery. Immigration status is among many factors taken into consideration."

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Navarro’s private insurance from his job would cover the transplant and follow-up care, but he lost his job last month and his insurance could run out.

If he is unable to extend his insurance and ends up in California’s Medi-Cal program, which could mean a death sentence. Medi-Cal will not cover the immunosuppressive drugs that prevent organ rejection after a transplant.