January 6, 2011 in Nation/World

Second person dies after denied transplant

Associated Press
 

PHOENIX – A second person denied transplant coverage by Arizona under a state budget cut has died, with this death “most likely” resulting from the coverage reduction, a hospital spokeswoman said Wednesday.

University Medical Center spokeswoman Jo Marie Gellerman said the patient died Dec. 28 at another medical facility after earlier being removed from UMC’s list for a liver transplant needed because of hepatitis C.

Arizona reduced Medicaid coverage for transplants on Oct. 1 under cuts included to help close a shortfall in the state budget.

Officials at the Tucson, Ariz., hospital said the patient’s death “most likely” resulted from Arizona’s scaling back coverage for transplants, she said.

It’s impossible to say with 100 percent certainty whether the patient would have died anyway, Gellerman said, “but we do know that his condition has gotten more severe since he was taken off the list.”

A Phoenix-area man, Mark Price, died Nov. 28 of complications from preparation for a bone-marrow transplant that was to be privately funded. That funding was provided anonymously after media outlets reported that he was notified of two possible donors on Oct. 1, the same day the coverage was reduced.

Democrats and other critics have slammed Republican Gov. Jan Brewer and the Republican-led Legislature for the transplant coverage reduction, and incoming Senate Minority Leader David Schapira called on them to restore the approximately $1.4 million of funding.

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