Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) officials have reversed a policy that barred undocumented immigrants from getting transplants. The decision was made after an undocumented Oregon mother of four was denied a life-saving liver transplant because she is undocumented. Silvia Lesama-Santos is 46 and is covered under her husbands health insurance but a letter from OHSU stated that she was ineligible for a liver transplant because she didn’t have a lawful presence in the U.S., according to The Oregonian.
The American Civil Liberties Union started a petition to pressure OHSU to reconsider their decision and it seems to have worked. According to a press release from OHSU, the hospital has eliminated the the policy that was blocking Lesama-Santos from getting her liver transplant.
“It was brought to our attention this evening that an archaic transplant policy was preventing an undocumented individual from being evaluated at OHSU. Upon learning of the policy, OHSU leaders acted immediately and terminated the policy. We deeply regret the pain this has caused the family,” states the press release. “OHSU is committed to serving our entire community — all are welcome at OHSU, and this policy does not reflect our values.”
Officials at the Oregon hospital have issued states of apology to the family and the undocumented community that has been impacted by the policy. Some have expressed regret that the policy hadn’t been changed sooner.
“Being undocumented, per se, should not have stopped that and that was the policy that was changed,” Dr. Willscott Naugler, the medical director for the liver transplant program at OHSU, told The Oregonian. “I think we are with some egg on our face understanding that there was a confusion being undocumented and having no insurance.”