Transplant-waiting children victims of Venezuela’s crises
When 10-year-old Remedios Leonora Santos woke up after her liver transplant, she was able to say her first words: “I can’t eat meat.”
Remedios is one of a large number of children living in Venezuela awaiting a transplanted organ that is often unavailable because of the crisis that has crippled the country over the past two years. That crisis has put the lives of so many children at risk.
What is making things even more difficult is that Kidney Health Services South Florida (KHS), the charitable group supporting Remedios and her family, has just secured federal funding to assist other organ patients with expenses in the province of Caracas. They now have more than 25 kidney patients in hospital waiting for a transplant, waiting for a connection to a waiting list.
“Thanks to the generosity of individuals and organisations like KHS, I am hopeful that thousands of children across the world will receive a transplanted organ at a moment’s notice,” said Joshua Epstein, the San Diego-based board chair of KHS, which makes its home in the US.
In Venezuela, organ failure is considered a death sentence, as the country’s transport of organs and blood to neighbouring countries – including Colombia and Brazil – has become so chaotic. In October, the Catholic Church warned that kidney failure rates are increasing in Venezuela due to shortages of dialysis machines, drugs and dialysis centres.
According to the Venezuelan Catholic Bioethics Research Institute, some 1,200 people have died in the last four years because of kidney failure in Venezuela.