On Thursday, an illegal alien living in Illinois received a free kidney transplant paid for by Loyola University Medical Center.
"Why can't we be treated the same?" said Jorge Mariscal, 24, after the operation. “Health care should be a human right, not a privilege. At least give us the chance to fight for our lives with dignity."
Mr. Mariscal waited eight years for the kidney transplant. To cover the costs of his anti-rejection pills, Mr. Mariscal has applied for a Simon Bolivar Foundation grant. Our Lady of Guadalupe Mission in Little Village also held concerts and events that raised thousands of dollars.
The pastor of the mission, Rev. Jose Landaverde, also led a 21-day hunger strike in June to protest hospitals that do not offer transplants to illegal aliens:
Landaverde said that after the strike, in addition to Mariscal's treatment at Loyola, the University of Illinois at Chicago Medical Center agreed to evaluate Lorenzo Arroyo, another illegal immigrant, for a possible liver transplant. Rush University Medical Center also placed Arroyo's brother, Elfego, on a transplant waiting list. Both brothers suffer from primary amyloidosis, a genetic liver disease.
Mr. Mariscal says he almost went back to Mexico when doctors told him his illegal status would prevent him from getting a kidney transplant in the U.S. but is glad he didn’t. "I don't think I would have been happy in Mexico," said Mr. Mariscal.
According to the New York Times, more than 93,000 people are waiting for a kidney transplant. Last year, 4,720 individuals on the list died waiting.