July 8, 1997 in Nation/World

Cuba Delays Daughter’s Surgery Father Can’t Get Permission To Go To U.S. To Donate Kidney

Knight-Ridder
 
Tags:organ

Alberto Ramon Blanco Hernandez waits in Havana for the mail carrier each day, hoping a letter from the Cuban government will arrive and allow him to go to Miami - and save his daughter’s life.

“I try not to think about it, but I can’t help it,” Blanco said Monday in a telephone interview from Cuba.

After a four-year wait, the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service in May finally granted Blanco a humanitarian parole to come here and donate a much-needed kidney to his 12-year-old daughter, Greta.

Since then, the Blanco family has waited for permission from Cuba. But no letter has arrived, and no reason for the delay has been given.

“They only tell me that the procedure isn’t concluded,” Blanco said.

While papers gather dust in Havana, little Greta waits in Hialeah. She is stable now, but at any moment can turn for the worse. Doctors at the University of Miami/Jackson Children’s Hospital say timing is crucial, and now is the best time for Greta to receive a transplant.

She survives with the help of dialysis machines, but needs a kidney to have a chance to survive long term. Because Greta’s mother, Margarita Caride, has diabetes, she cannot donate a kidney.

Knowing the frailty of Greta’s health, U.S. Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, a Miami Republican, denounced the Cuban government Monday for delaying the father - and the transplant operation.


Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email