CHICAGO, IL –(ENEWSPF)—August 28, 2013. On Tuesday, August 27th, members of the Luchando Por La Vida (Fighting For Our Lives) campaign for access to organ transplants for undocumented immigrants met in a roundtable discussion with representatives from local hospitals, state & county government, business, and nonprofit groups, among others, at Rush University Medical Center. The primary goal of the afternoon meeting, facilitated by Dr. David Ansell from Rush, was to continue a dialogue and exchange ideas on the issue of facilitating access to organ transplants to the poor, undocumented, and uninsured, and in particular, to discuss access and funding for crucial post-transplant medications.
The organizer of the Luchando Campaign, Father Jose Landaverde, along with three patients in need of transplants, presented the hospital transplant teams in attendance with a case list of several transplant patients. The transplant teams stated their willingness to take the cases and to decide amongst themselves how to distribute them between their various hospitals, which include Rush, Loyola, Northwestern Memorial, Christ, Stroger, and St. Francis.
Much of the meeting was focused on continuing dialogue and exchanging ideas on the logistics and public policy side of providing and increasing access to organ transplants. It was stressed by Ansell that this was not to establish groundbreaking policy decisions but rather to have a “fruitful dialogue”.
The Luchando campaign also began the process this week of transforming itself into a more formally organized group. Luchando Por La Vida will be a new nonprofit, starting on September 1st. Its stated purpose is to advocate for access to health care for all people, without regard to economic or immigration status. While its current focus is on the group of undocumented immigrants who have been demanding access to organ transplants by engaging in direct action tactics such as a hunger strike, street marches, and overnight vigils outside hospitals, the group aims to put the issue of health care access for all in the national spotlight.
Looking forward, the Metropolitan Chicago Health Care Council has agreed to host a forum this fall for all the transplant teams, while the Luchando Por La Vida group will continue to act in solidarity with all who are denied heath care.