Jesus Navarro must feel like he’s stuck in quicksand.The undocumented Oakland man, who was denied a kidney transplant, even though he had a job and health insurance at the time, has seen his prospects buoyed by many who have offered him their support. Yet, he is still waiting to see how things will shake out. He will die without the transplant.
“We filed a claim against Kaiser Permanente and they will answer in the next day or two,” says Oakland councilman Ignacio De La Fuente about how his office appealed to Navarro’s former insurance company to reinstate his policy.
“Based on how they respond we may file a lawsuit against them,” De La Fuente adds, noting that his office filed an “urgency appeal,” which would have been answered in 72 hours but was denied. “They did not consider this an urgent appeal,” he says. “I don’t know what the hell they’re talking about. I don’t know how someone dying isn’t urgent.”
Navarro’s case was also taken up by Donald Kagan, a man who underwent a kidney transplant in 2010 after a poor immigrant donated his kidney to him.
Kagan began a petition on February 2 to lobby the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center, Senator Barbara Boxer and others. It garnered 100 signatures on the first day, but has shot to more than 131,000 signatures in the six days since.
“Immigration status should not determine someone’s fate,” the petition reads in part. “This man does not deserve to die.”
The most “liked” reason for signing the petition is from Janet Johnson who wrote, “I know many undocumented immigrants who are registered as donors. Individuals who receive needed organs don’t ask if they come from legal citizens, do they? Immigration status shouldn’t matter in this case.”
Through it all, time ticks and Navarro waits.