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Blog > 2012 > If They Only Had a Heart…

If They Only Had a Heart…

November 28th, 2012

Time is no friend of Vilma Serrano. The middle-aged Toronto woman suffers from end-stage kidney disease and is in dire need of a kidney transplant. The problem is that there are more than 3,000 such people in Canada, and the wait for a kidney from a deceased donor can stretch to 10 years. Vilma has only been on the waiting list since 2009.

The alternative to prayer, patience, and dialysis is to locate a live donor, who is a suitable match and willing to part with one of his or her renal organs. Needless to say, these kinds of people don’t grow on trees, especially if they are not a close relative of the recipient.

You can imagine the joy in the Serrano household when, after a long search, a distant relative in El Salvador offered to donate one of his kidneys. The excitement intensified when preliminary medical tests indicated that he could be a potential match. So far, so good.

You might think this story has a feel-good ending, but it doesn’t. The would-be donor applied for a visitor’s visa at the Canadian Embassy in Guatemala City and was denied, not once but twice. And this, notwithstanding the fact that he had letters of support from the Toronto General Hospital’s renal transplant team and the Serrano’s local Member of Parliament.

The family is, to say the least, extremely disappointed at the lack of compassion shown by immigration authorities. Who can blame them? For its part, the immigration department, through a representative, declared that after careful consideration it was determined that the donor might not leave Canada when his good deed was completed. So in essence, after taking into account the good possibility that Vilma’s life could be saved by admitting the donor and weighing this against the possibility that the donor would not voluntarily depart Canada, the government came down on the side of callous indifference.

While I’m on the subject, there is something else that bothers me about Vilma’s predicament. It’s quite apparent that had her relative, the donor, been from a country like Ireland, or Israel, or any other visa-exempt country, he could have simply flown to Canada and potentially to her rescue. He would not have needed a visitor’s visa. It’s just one more example of two-tiered Canadian citizenship.

At this point, the only way that Vilma’s would-be donor is going to enter Canada is if the Minister of Immigration intervenes. Vilma’s daughter has launched a ‘Save our Vilma” online petition at http://vilmasfriends.wordpress.com to support the cause. If you live in Canada, I encourage you to lend your support.



 
Previous Blog : Unintended Consequences
 
Next Blog : The Measure of Canada’s Compassion?


13 Responses to “If They Only Had a Heart…”

  • On November 29th, 2012, a.franklin MD said ...

    Mrs.Serrano could apply to OHIP for Out-of-Province kidney transplant payment in El Salvador Dr.J.SORIANO
    is a UROLOGIST.

  • On November 29th, 2012, Drissi said ...

    Why canadian are like this NO COMPASSION FOR HUMAIN FEELING ? Money more higher than moral ?

  • On November 29th, 2012, Drissi said ...

    NO VALUE FOR HUMAIN LIFE,,,

  • On November 29th, 2012, José Saúl Zapata said ...

    Dear Mr Atormey Cohen, let me tell you that with the appropriate natural treatment, using the right plants she can recover in a very safe way and surgery won’t be necessary.
    For Example using the flowers and roots of Agave or Fique in Spanish as tea also the horsetail plant, drinking these kind of teas will help a lot. The sheath of this big bean is an excellent treatment to avoid the surgery.

    just drinking lots of these teas Vilma will be able to go through this illness.
    Even I can get more natural medicines if you’re interested in.
    Best regrads
    Jose Saul Zapata

  • On December 1st, 2012, Anonymous said ...

    She can ask the Brasil governament, I think she can get help here.

  • On December 2nd, 2012, Anonymous said ...

    May the Almighty God lay his Healing hand upon her!!

  • On December 22nd, 2012, Anonymous said ...

    Does any body have a heart to make pre-2004 applicants wait for 8 years ,fool them and then deny them PR.Have you done a fair job.

  • On December 30th, 2012, Anonymous said ...

    May God help her!

  • On January 5th, 2013, a reader said ...

    Here’s another example of “two-tiered Canadian citizenship”: pre-born Canadians may be killed at any stage of gestation. As soon as they are born, however, they are protected by a law against murder (though enforcement is sometimes weak if they have only recently been born).

  • On January 26th, 2013, Anonymous said ...

    Isn’t canada immigration “potentially” putting her life in danger by refusing her donor to come to Canada??

  • On March 13th, 2013, jerry said ...

    i wish i could help her God be with her

  • On April 11th, 2013, Lucy said ...

    just wondering about the progress of the petition and if the family was able to find another donor.

  • On August 7th, 2013, Anonymous said ...

    It doesn’t surprise me .You are just a number and CIC doesn’t really care about anything other than the fact that you have no red flags and no issues.As soon as they see you are sick or you were married twice your done they say and do what they want.From the beginning you need the best lawyer money can buy before you even apply for anything from CIC.This sick person has years to wait for a decision or appeal.

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