Posted on January 7, 2005

Immigrant Boy Gets Kidney Transplant in Atlanta

AP, Jan. 6

A 13-year-old boy is recuperating at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta after doctors performed a kidney transplant.

Edgar Gutierrez underwent surgery Tuesday night, three years after his father violated US immigration law to help his ailing son.

His father, Fidelmar Gutierrez, says the family is grateful.

The boy had been in limbo since he and his family left Mexico and entered the United States without permission to seek medical help for the boy, who has kidney disease.

The family said they could not afford dialysis in Mexico. US law requires hospitals to treat patients with life-threatening illnesses regardless of immigration status or ability to pay.

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta began providing treatment three times a week after a doctor said Edgar would die without dialysis. A story in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution last year prompted to people to donate 164-thousand dollars to put toward the cost of the operation and drugs that the boy will need to take for the rest of his life.

Those people were CNN executive Eason Jordan and retired Delta Air Lines pilot Joseph Moss.

The boy received the transplant from someone who had just died.