Jesus Saved?

UCSF Medical Center announced today that it will “move forward” with giving Jesus Navarro, an unauthorized immigrant from Oakland, the kidney transplant he desperately needs to stay alive.

They didn’t necessarily agree to perform the surgery – but by “moving forward” they have referred him to a community assistance organization in an effort to help his case move “forward.”

Confused? Navarro might be as well. Especially since the 35-year-old father has been waiting for the transplant for more than six years, has a donor all lined-up (his wife), and has his own private medical insurance from his last job at a steel foundry in Berkeley where he worked for 14 years.

UCSF had effectively denied Navarro’s surgery out of concern that he might not be able to afford his follow-up care and drugs if he were to his lose his insurance and end up on Medi-Cal, given his status as an illegal immigrant.

Navarro quickly became the focus of a national “Save Jesus” campaign earlier this month.

Last week his supporters set up a website, a Facebook page, a Twitter hashtag, and launched an online petition that garnered over 140,000 signatures.

The medical center released a statement today that said their concerns have been addressed, and that the school does not discriminate on the basis of immigration status but rather evaluates the ability of all patients to pay for follow-up care.

“UCSF regrets the misunderstanding and is committed to reviewing its processes to make sure that communication is consistent and clear with all patients, including Mr. Navarro,” the release stated.

Navarro is now at the top of the donor wait list, according to UCSF, and could get his new kidney in a matter of months.