Immigrant denied kidney to get help

Feb. 1, 2012 at 9:20 PM
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OAKLAND, Calif., Feb. 1 (UPI) -- Advocacy organizations have joined forces to help a California man denied a kidney transplant because of his immigration status, officials said.

Jesus Navarro, an illegal immigrant from Mexico who lives in Oakland, was denied a kidney transplant at the University of California San Francisco Medical Center despite having private insurance and a donor match in his wife because hospital officials said they weren't sure he could afford follow-up care given his status, the Contra Costa Times of Walnut Creek reported Wednesday.

City leaders, immigration lawyers, advocacy organizations and individual residents have pledged their time and money to help the 35-year-old, who has a 3-year-old daughter.

One supporter, Donald Kagan, said he received a kidney transplant at UCSF in 2010.

"Ever since then, I feel like I need to give back to those that aren't as fortunate as I am," he said.

Kagan said he met with Navarro and a social worker Tuesday to help make sure Navarro could keep his private insurance. Navarro had recently lost his job at Berkeley's Pacific Steel where he had worked for 14 years after an immigration audit.

Navarro said he was overwhelmed by the support.

"I'm just grateful for everything," he said.

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