Undocumented immigrant denied kidney transplant

An undocumented immigrant woman says she is being denied a kidney transplant due to her immigration status.

Ruth Villalta, 30, the mother of a 9-year-old daughter, has end-stage renal failure and spends most of her days on dialysis.

She says she has no insurance and is not eligible for a kidney transplant. Immigration Health Advocate Francis Madi says it will cost more to keep Villalta on dialysis than it would to give her the operation.

"It's a no-brainer," Madi told News 12. "There are ways we can help the undocumented population, but also save money for residents who are paying for these services."

If Villalta were a United States citizen or long-term permanent resident, she would be eligible to get a transplant covered by Medicaid.

Villalta says she cannot return home to El Salvador because there is inadequate medical care there.

News 12 called Good Samaritan Hospital, which runs the clinic where Villalta goes for dialysis. They said they could not comment because of patient confidentiality laws.

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