This year, as we celebrate the 61st anniversary of the signing of the International Declaration of Human Rights, the story of Eduardo Loredo reminds us that the great inequality in our society remains.
While most children wish for the latest toys and gadgets for Christmas, there is a 14 year old boy who wishes for a heart so he can live a normal life.
Eduardo Loredo was diagnosed with Dilated Cardiomyopathy, an illness in which the heart becomes weakened and enlarged, and cannot pump blood efficiently. Eduardo was first hospitalized at Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, MO in July 2009 and was there for three months before being sent home on Oct. 14, 2009. Since Eduardo or his family didn't have health insurance or the money to pay for the heart transplant, the family was told that a $500,000 payment would be required to place Eduardo on the waiting list for a heart.
This boy now needs our help to get the heart he desperately needs.
Eduardo is being denied a heart transplant because he does not have health insurance (or enough money) to pay for a heart transplant and follow up care. Eduardo was diagnosed with Cardiomyopathy, a serious disease in which the heart muscle becomes inflamed and eventually stops working altogether, and was hospitalized at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, MO beginning in July 2009. Eduardo was sent home from Children’s Mercy Hospital on October 14, 2009 and told that he had the potential to live another two or three years, but that he could also die any day.
Missouri’s Medicaid program is generally available only to citizens and certain legal immigrants who meet a five year waiting period. These restrictive rules prevent Eduardo from qualifying for health insurance that would cover both the transplant procedure and the long-term follow up care required to ensure a successful transplant. Since Eduardo doesn’t have health insurance and his undocumented residency status prevents him from being eligible for Medicaid in Kansas City, the family was told they need $500,000.00 to place Eduardo on the transplant waiting list for a heart. Children’s Mercy Hospital does not perform heart transplants. The hospital is doing everything they can to get Eduardo on the list, but they have not had any success. Doctors say he could die in a few days or a few years, but without getting on the waiting list for the heart, he doesn’t have a chance.
On December 10, 1948, the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. These human rights include necessities such as housing, education, food, and health care. Although the United States signed this declaration, we are still waiting for our government to guarantee these rights.
Martin Luther King, Jr declared: “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.”
Whoever we are—whatever the color of our skin or how much money we have in the bank account or where we come from—we all deserve the chance to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. And so does Eduardo.
The Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign (PPEHRC) calls on hospitals, doctors, health clinics, politicians, religious people, and all people of conscience to take responsibility for Eduardo’s life, and help him to live.
As our government continues the struggle to reform our health care system, may they look at Eduardo and declare: ENOUGH.
Enough people have died as a result of being barred from medical care that could have saved their lives.
Not One More Death. Health Care is a Human Right!