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By Juliana Menashe
Three children on a waiting list for liver transplants are now being left without a chance at a new life because their country is going through economic and humanitarian crises.
The Mexican surgeon who manages their treatment spoke exclusively to IAR Radio. And since it is likely their families have fled to Cuba or Chile, the child’s parents will have to wait there, too.
Professor Baudoin Vaino, head of child and adolescent hepatology in Mexico City, told iHeartRadio she has no comment about the information published in local media that says three Venezuelan children have died on the liver transplant list in Mexico.
Vaino says she has contacted Mexican and Venezuelan authorities to try to solve the problem.
“Obviously, we must guarantee the families of these three children that they will receive a new organ. Not that they will arrive, not that they will come, but that a new organ will be obtained. And I will be working with the Mexican government officials, the Venezuelan Embassy in Mexico City to make that happen,” she told iHeartRadio in a telephone interview.
Vaino says as soon as the families arrive in Mexico they will be able to receive the transplant. But it will be weeks before the operation can take place.
Vaino says she knows Venezuela is in deep trouble and admits the possibility of needing a transplant is high.
“Since the youth is more affected because they are not paying electricity costs or housing costs and therefore it is affecting them more, and therefore this is very related,” she says.
But she believes the gap between the money the parents spend and the money coming in from the Venezuelan state creates a vicious cycle that must be reversed.
“It is linked to the fact that in order to [attain] survival these patients have to receive a liver. Even if the payment is more than they have and even if the payment has nothing to do with a donation, for survival a liver must be obtained. And the payment of the country is not a donation. It is financing for the care of this patient so that he or she lives, so that they survive,” she says.
Vaino is speaking out because she knows the children on the list are all suffering from complications such as liver cancer or hepatitis B.
“The thought of them being without the prospect of a new life is horrible,” she says.
“They are young. It is not only something for their parents but also for a lot of other people who will be involved in this process and supporting them, being there for them 24/7,” she says.
Mexico has said it will cooperate with the Venezuelan government to find medical professionals willing to work for free at Venezuelan hospitals.
And Mexico is one of many countries that say it will accept Venezuelans fleeing the country. But only those wishing to seek asylum can get a US green card.
Governments that want to take in child victims of disease can do so through international organizations like Médecins Sans Frontières.