The Arroyo brothers are undocumented immigrants and lack insurance, friends and relatives say. Like others in their situation, they have been denied care that could increase their chances of survival due to their residency status.
"We know there are thousands of Latinos and (non-)Latinos with no documents who are facing the same situation," Rev. Jose Landaverde said Monday during a news conference at Our Lady of Guadalupe Angelican Catholic Mission in Chicago's Little Village neighborhood.
Both Elfego, 38, and Lorenzo, 36, attended the news conference and spoke little, but showed photographs of themselves in healthier times. They both have primary amyloidosis, a disease passed from parent to child, said Dr. David Ansell, senior vice president for clinical affairs and chief medical officer at Rush University Medical Center, who is familiar with the Arroyos and their health care dilemma. The disease makes the liver produce abnormal proteins that cause other organs to fail, he said.
"The only cure is a transplant," Ansell said.
The Arroyos' mother died a couple of years ago at age 63 of the same disease. Their older brother, Francisco Arroyo, 40, also had the disease, but because he is a legal resident, he received a liver transplant at Rush, Landaverde said.
The Arroyos' position is not unique in America. About 5 percent to 10 percent of organs donated in the United States come from people who are uninsured, Ansell said. However, "close to zero percent" of the uninsured receive organ transplants.
Read more - VIDEO: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-immigrant-hunger-strike-20120612,0,7138960.story
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