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Latino Daily News

Monday June 11, 2012

Chicago Hunger Strike Continues Over Undocumented Being Denied Transplants

Chicago Hunger Strike Continues Over Undocumented Being Denied Transplants

Photo: Chicago Hunger Strike Continues Over Undocumented Being Denied Transplants

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A woman in the group of five Latinos who are on a hunger strike here to demand organ transplants for undocumented immigrants lacking health insurance was treated by paramedics on Monday but later rejoined the protest begun nine days ago.

Catalina Arroyo, 53, was treated by paramedics on Monday morning at the Our Lady of Guadalupe Anglican Mission, where the hunger strike is being conducted, and she was taken by ambulance to a hospital after she complained of severe abdominal pains.

She was stabilized at the hospital and doctors determined that she had a very low potassium level, something that could put her health at risk, “but she decided to return to the church,” Hilda Burgos, another member of the hunger strikers, told Efe.

She said that Lorenzo Arroyo, another hunger striker and Catalina’s nephew, had also shown signs of having health complications.

The group is rounded out by the Rev. Jose Landaverde, the 43-year-old pastor of the mission in Chicago’s largely Mexican Little Village neighborhood, and Sonia Lopez, 47.

According to the organizers of the hunger strike, the protest is aimed at saving the lives of brothers Lorenzo and Elfego Arroyo, and of Jorge Mariscal, who need kidney transplants but have not been treated at two Chicago hospitals because they lack immigration documents.

Burgos said that so far there has been no response from authorities at Loyola University Medical Center and the University of Illinois Chicago Medical Center, “but nobody wants to (quit the hunger strike). We’re going to continue until the bitter end.”

The next step in the protest will be taken on Wednesday when “a march for life” to UIC will be staged along with an automobile caravan that will arrive at Loyola on Friday.

Burgos emphasized as good news the plan for the hunger strikers to be visited by the medical chief of Rush Hospital, the only medical center in Chicago that performs transplants on undocumented immigrants at a cost of between $100,000 and $200,000.