PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Silvia Lesama-Santos’ family is hopeful she will be able to receive a life-saving liver transplant soon.
“We’ve been waiting for 6 years almost to be able to get a transplant,” her son Ivan said on Thursday.
On Monday, Lesama-Santos, a 30-year Portland resident, was denied a transplant by OHSU because she is an undocumented immigrant. Later in the day, OHSU changed their policy and said the 46-year-old mother of 4 was eligible.
“No one should be denied life-saving medical services because of their citizenship status,” Mat dos Santos, the legal director with ACLU of Oregon said.
Lesama-Santos is on the wait list for a new liver, but her health has seriously deteriorated and she has to get better before she can have the procedure. Her family remains hopeful.
“Honestly I’m just blessed to know that they finally changed their policy,” Ivan said.
The ACLU and Oregon immigrant rights group Causa say this isn’t the first time an undocumented immigrant has been denied life-saving treatment because of their status.
“We are asking, not just OHSU, but all hospitals in Oregon, to reverse any policy denying organ transplants based on citizenship status,” Andrea Williams with Causa said.